Technology and Human Rights

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Photo: Micah Farfour/DigitalGlobe

Here’s a cool story about the merging of technology with social justice. Now satellites are being used to expose human rights violations. This is really important because lots of places where these violations are occurring don’t allow outsiders. But, now with this new technology we can have a better idea of what’s happening in the world and how we can help. Read more: goo.gl/x957Fx 

12 Steps for Gender Equality

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Photo: Solo Imaji/Barcroft Media: A human rights activist in Indonesia on International Women’s Day

 

The Guardian recently released a list of 12 steps we can take to achieve gender equality. One of the first things we can do is include women and girls in the discussion of policy-making. Other steps to take is to make education gender-sensitive and to encourage girls in technology and the sciences. Read the rest of the steps: goo.gl/7prlFJ

10,000 Refugee Children are Missing

Photo: Darko Vojinovic/AP. A migrant child at the Macedonian border.

10,000 refugee children are missing as a result of gang activity across Europe, according to Europol. This story from The Guardian brings to our attention how these children are being targeted by pan-European criminals to be sold into slavery and sex trafficking. Italy may have the worst of the problem, with 5,000 children unaccounted for, but other European countries are also facing this appalling epidemic, such as 1,000 children having gone missing in Sweden. There have been an estimated 26,000 unaccompanied children who have entered into Europe during this refugee crisis. The children who are traveling alone are especially vulnerable and in need of protection. Read more: goo.gl/pJH7nF

Seeking Refuge: Children of the Crisis

by Jacqueline Monet, Social Media Marketing Manager

 

It’s difficult to imagine circumstances being so atrocious in your own country that you would risk everything to flee into the unknown. Harder still is to imagine doing that on your own as a child. The numbers are difficult to come by, but at least 24,000 unaccompanied children applied for asylum in the EU last year. These children are among the most vulnerable to trafficking, slavery and other horrific fates. The UK just announced that it will do more to help these children, but it will not be opening its doors to 3,000 unaccompanied children, as Save the Children proposed. Instead, the UK will be giving £10m to help these vulnerable children who have already traversed into Europe.

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Photo: BBC News

Unaccompanied children who have family members in the UK will be allowed in and reunited with their family, while the future for the other thousands of vulnerable children remains uncertain. There has been a push to make fostering children easier in countries like Britain, but so far it remains a complicated and difficult situation. Children’s homes have been filling up faster than accommodations can be made for the incoming children, who arrive from as far as Turkey to Germany. The resources, help and organization to facilitate proper care and possibly adoptions is simply not in place.

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Photo: Nish Nalbandian, NPR: “Two Syrian girls color at Bayti orphanage in Reyhanli, Turkey, just across the border from Syria. Many young Syrian refugees have lost one or both parents, but space is limited at orphanages in the city.”

Despite the hardships of the world, life carries on. Babies are being born in the midst of the crisis to Syrian refugee parents in Europe. These children are at great peril of being stateless, as many EU countries do not implement the UN convention of automatically granting nationality to children born in their country. These children are often not eligible for Syrian citizenship, either, as only fathers can pass on citizenship to children, according to Syrian law. Being stateless can have disastrous consequences for these children as they grow up. Without citizenship, people can often not legally work, get married, own property, vote and participate in other facets of adult life.

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Photo: Bilal Hussein, The Associated Press: “A Syrian family sit outside their tent, at a Syrian refugee camp, in the eastern town of Kab Elias, Lebanon.”

We are now witnessing the largest number of refugee children since World War II. Over 4 million people have left Syria to seek refuge in nearby countries and over half of those people are children, alone or with families. It’s a confusing and scary time to be witness to this crisis and far worse to be experiencing it. News is just breaking that Sweden will be expelling as many as 80,000 refugees from its country. To protect these children caught up in the chaos, we need to work together to support refugee families with proper housing and education, find a way to keep records of all refugee children and supporting the children’s homes that are currently providing assistance. We can also petition our governments to grant exemptions in order to speed up the foster care and adoption process, in order to provide immediate care for these children. Supporting organizations like Save the Children, who are on the ground and working towards these goals is a great first step: http://goo.gl/tKNHmQ.

 

Resources

Juvenile Justice Act Now In Effect

Photo: REUTERS/Lucas Jackson. Kailash Satyarthi, 2014 Nobel Peace Prize Laureate.

Indian Parliament recently passed changes to the Juvenile Justice Act in India, to include legislation that will help better protect children. Now there are specific criminal offenses for child trafficking and the usage of children in begging, drug trade or violent crimes. Also, the new law cracks down on the regulation of children’s homes, working to end the abuse and exploitation of vulnerable children living in these institutions. Nobel Peace Prize winner and child activist Kailash Satyarthi spoke out in favor of the law, but said it would require political and financial support to be effective. Although much good could come of this, the new laws are not without criticisms, including that the act will have harsher sentencing for minors. Read more: goo.gl/aSblC6 

Children Rebuilding in the Wake of Ebola

Image: Abu on his first day back at school, in April (Ben Steele)

Filmmaker Ben Steele discusses his journey to West Africa, where he meets and documents some of the 20,000 children left orphaned by the Ebola epidemic. Steele’s newly released documentary follows several children, who are rebuilding their lives in the aftermath of Ebola. One of the children he follows is 12 year old Abu, who was taken in by relatives and is now back in school and thriving. Sierra Leone was finally declared Ebola free last month and we hope that the world continues to make strides to stop this devastating disease. Read more here @TheIndependent: goo.gl/tB4Zhw 

The Plight of Nigerian Girls

Nigerian girls are almost always married at very young ages, often without their consent. ⅔ of girls in Nigeria are married before they are 18 and ⅓ is married before 15. These girls go onto have an average of 7 children, remain illiterate and stuck in poverty. There is a very high maternal mortality rate for these girls and they are divorced only if the husband initiates it. There are organizations like Adolescent Initiative, or Illim, that work to educate and protect these girls. Read more about this important topic and the amazing strides being done to help:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/girls-education-niger_564ddb93e4b031745ceff27b 

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