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Rohingya refugee children*

Rohingya refugee children would love to be at school. But in their vast camps in Bangladesh, only 30% of them are getting an education – and most of these children have just two hours of lessons a day. UN Secretary-General António Guterres visited Rohingya families and said: “Nothing could have prepared me for the scale of the crisis and extent of suffering.”

*credit: Theirworld.org

10,000 children killed and maimed, hundreds of schools attacked in rising tide of violence by Billy Briggs*

A UN report has revealed a shocking increase in child casualties, schools targeted and recruitment of child soldiers in conflict-hit countries.

Unspeakable violence against children has been revealed in a new report from the United Nations which says more than 10,000 were killed or maimed last year.

Hundreds of new attacks on schools by armed factions around the world showed a “blatant disregard” by armed groups for both international law and children’s lives.

Disturbing new trends identified included the increasing use of children as suicide bombers and large-scale abductions of children.

Continue reading

The Guardian: When Jewish Americans uphold occupation, it corrodes our souls by Mariyama Scott*

On Monday, I joined over a hundred other young American Jews in Washington DC to protest Trump moving the US embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. As we marched, news rolled in of Palestinians killed by Israeli snipers at the Gaza separation fence. A staggering 37 people had been killed as we blocked Pennsylvania Avenue near the Capitol. By the time the protest ended, the death toll had passed 40. And at the end of the day, at least 58 people had been killed. It was the deadliest day in Gaza since the 2014 war on Gaza. Continue reading

Mohamed Sidibay for Theirworld and Global Partnership for Education’s conference in Senegal,

Dear Mariela,

A few days ago, I asked you: what is the one question you want me to ask  world leaders?

It was a few hours before a key moment for the campaign to fund education – the Global Partnership for Education’s replenishment conference in Dakar, Senegal, where I was going to deliver the keynote speech.

And you were clear that the biggest question of the moment was: what will you do to turn the decline in education financing around and ensure that every child can realise their right to education?

To be honest, when I sent you that email, I was feeling a bit sceptical. For years aid to education has been stagnating or going down. I’ve spoken at big events before.

What was going to change this time? And why now? Continue reading

The pursuit of gender equality: How to win an uphill battle?*

Though there has been progress, gender equality is still a long way off. That is the key message in our latest report, The Pursuit of Gender Equality: An Uphill Battle, released 4 October. As I write in this OECD Observer article, policies are changing for the better, but much more improvement is needed to close gender gaps in all areas of social and economic life. No country is immune. The challenges are varied: more women should be encouraged to study science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM), for instance, and more men should be encouraged to do their fair share of unpaid care-giving. Women should be better represented as entrepreneurs, in public life, and at the highest levels of the private sector.

There’s a lot to do, but we believe there is cause for optimism. Continue reading

Rohingya refugee children need urgent help to deal with their trauma*

Safe spaces and schools are vital if huge numbers of children fleeing from violence in Myanmar are to recover from their toxic stress.

Almost 60% of the Rohingya refugees fleeing ethnic atrocities in Myanmar are children – and many are escaping on their own.

Stories of violence against women and children – villages burned, infants thrown in rivers, toddlers and mothers shot – abound from makeshift camps in neighbouring Bangladesh, where survivors are struggling to find clean water, food and proper shelter.

Hundreds of children at the camps have been separated from their families and the numbers are growing daily.  Continue reading

A portrait of family migration*

Migration is all over the news in Europe, North America and Australia. When people think about migration, they tend to picture either refugees driven to undertake dangerous journeys in order to escape threatening situations or people coming to a new country to pursue studies or work. Yet there is a large category of migrants all too often overlooked: family migrants. Such migrants accounted for 40% of migration to the OECD area in 2015 and they typically make up 25-50% of an OECD country’s foreign-born population – and as much as 70% in the United States.

Why is family migration receiving so little attention? Continue reading

Building the Future: Children and Sustainable Development Goals in Rich Countries – Innocenti Report*

Building the Future: Children and Sustainable Development Goals in Rich Countries is the latest in the Innocenti Report Card series, which analyses inequality in 41 high-income countries. It looks at how far children are falling behind in the dimensions of income, education, health and life satisfaction. Continue reading

Excerpts from PEN International Women Writers Committee Statement on Turkey

February, 2017

Since July 15, 2016, when there was an attempted coup d’état in Turkey, many aspects of freedom of expression have been limited, cut off or abolished.

News agencies, TV stations, radio stations, newspapers, magazines and publishers have been shut down. 4,464 academics have lost their jobs.

Many women journalists and academics are among those who have lost their jobs, been detained, called to court, sentenced, or fined. This includes some very high-profile women writers such as Asli Erdogan Displaying asli erdogan.jpg(no relation to the president), who spent 132 days in jail in Istanbul for being listed as a consultant to a pro-Kurdish newspaper.

Most of the journalists, academics and writers targeted have nothing to do with the coup attempt. The government doesn’t even allege that they do. They wrote something pro-Kurdish, criticized the government or just signed a declaration stating that they want peace.

Another woman writer, the sociologist Pinar Selek Displaying pinar selek.jpg, who has been acquitted by the courts many times, recently has had the government’s case against her renewed. The government continues to ask for a life sentence, claiming that she set a bomb in a market, though all expert sources say the explosion was caused by a gas leak. However, Pinar Selek is a supporter of Kurdish people.

Kurdish writers and those who work in media in the Kurdish area are in even worse shape. All schools teaching the Kurdish language have been closed. Christian churches, including Surp Giragos, the newly-restored Armenian church in Diyarbakir, have been confiscated by the government in the wave of growing Islamism. Government forces raided the offices of Kurdish PEN, destroying their equipment and files.

Many Kurdish writers have been detained. Mujgan Ekîn Displaying mujgan ekin.jpg, a journalist, editor and presenter for GUN TV in Diyarbakir, was taken away in October 2016. Though witnesses saw her abducted by the police, the government consistently denied all knowledge of her whereabouts. She was found two months later . She had been tortured and taken to Jerablus, an area of Syria under Turkish control.

PEN International, PEN Turkey and Kurdish PEN have all been working constantly to try to preserve or restore freedom of expression. This month a large international mission of PEN delegates went to Turkey to try to help. However the situation continues to worsen.

The PEN International Women Writers Committee realizes that there are freedom of expression and human rights crises going on in many other places, such as the alarming situations presently unfolding in the United States and in the Philippines. They deserve attention too. At this moment our interest is to support our Kurdish and Turkish colleagues, women writers who are trying to do their work in a dangerous and extremely challenging situation. We want to make sure that PIWWC members and supporters know about them.

 

OECD countries need to address the migration backlash*

The public is losing faith in the capacity of governments to manage migration. Opinion polls in a wide range of countries suggest that the share of the public holding extreme anti-immigration views has grown in recent years and that these extreme views are more frequently heard in public debates. In part, this is due to the perception that no end is in sight for large migration inflows and that countries have lost control over them. People are concerned about the short-term impact of large inflows of migrants, and refugees in particular, and many feel that migration is threatening their economic, social as well as personal security. Common concerns are that migration is unmanaged and borders are not secured; immigrants stretch local services, such as social housing, health and education, to the detriment of local populations; immigration benefits the rich, with the poor finding themselves competing with immigrants for jobs, and wages for low-skilled work depressed; and many migrants do not want to integrate and may even oppose the values of host societies. Continue reading

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