The Coalition to Stop the Use of Child Soldiers has released a report condemning the continued use of children in armed conflict. A United Nations report has named 21 armed forces and groups in 3 separate UN reports since 2002, for using children in conflict. The countries include Sudan, Myanmar, Nepal and Democratic Republic of the Congo.
The situation in Darfur is not getting any better. The government sponsored janjaweed have been seen to rape girls and women and the men who complain are forced to watch and beaten, sometimes branded with hot knives. Although there was a cease-fire agreed in April 2004 and
it was also agreed to stop hostile aerial activity in November 2004, helicopter gunships are still being used by the government to attack the civilian population.
In Iran a well-known internet blogger was sentenced to 14 years in prison. The trial violated international standards, being held in secret and with no lawyer for the accused, Arash Cigarchi. It is not even know whether Arash was permitted at his trial.
Iran is party to international conventions that prohibit child execution and yet 11 children under 18 have been executed since 1990 and there are 30 others awaiting execution. Iran says it does not execute children but the facts speak otherwise, the last execution was the
19th January 2005. Take action here.
Nepal has still not dealt with its war against the Maoist insurgents. Civilians in the countryside face death from both the Maoists and from the government troops. King Gyanendra took over with military backing on February 1st and declared a state of emergency, which meant many politicians and human rights activists have been arrested. All independant media have been closed down and the state owned radio has announced that freedom of movement has been suspended. Nothing has been done to address the original problem of the war between
the government and the Maoists which has so far killed 11,000 civilians.
In Eqypt, 4 months after the bombing of the Taba Hilton, 2,400 detainees are still being held. The authorites have identified 9 people as being responsible for the attack and yet thousands are still detained without a warrant.