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Bolivia Bans Men Violent Against Women from Public Positions

Aymara indigenous women Bertha Vedia (L), Dora Magueno (C) and Lidia Huayllas sit in a car in El Alto, Bolivia.Bolivia Bans Men Violent Against Women from Public PositionsTelesurtv, 4 May 2016Bolivia has the highest rate of intimate partner violence…
4 hours ago
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Mourners light it up for Quinn at massive, moving vigil in Harbour Grace

Mourners light it up for Quinn at massive, moving vigil in Harbour GraceThousands gather for young girl who died tragically in father's homeBy Terry Roberts, CBC News Posted: Apr 28, 2016Terry Roberts is a journalist with CBC's bureau in St.…
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These images say a lot about the state of violence against women in Mexico

This illustration refers to victim-blaming aimed at women who have been killed: "She was a whore," "She dressed provocatively," "What was she doing out at those hours?"These images say a lot about the state of violence against women in MexicoApril…
Apr 23
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Apr 17
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Women and homelessness

7 unique challenges homeless women face — and what you can do to helpBy Katie Dupere, April 12, 2016Uncertainty, struggle and stigma are just some of the threads that knit together the shared experiences of the homeless community.But for women who are homeless, there are several unique challenges only they know: What it's like to have a period without access to supplies. What it's like to monitor your behavior due to fear of sexual assault. What it's like to be pregnant and not have the…See More
Apr 17
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Apr 15
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Gloria Steinem creates new documentary series "Woman"

.Activist Gloria Steinem sheds light on the shocking realities of brutal violence against women in the Congo, El Salvador, and even the US, in powerful new documentary series•The 82-year-old journalist-turned-activist hosts and produced the new…
Apr 15


A handout photo released by UNICEF shows a 15-year-old Nigerian refugee at the Minawao refugee camp in Northern Cameroon, on April 5, 2016. Fati was abducted by Boko Haram and given to a man and forced to be his wife during her four months in captivity. She was eventually freed by Cameroonian soldiers and reunited with her family in a refugee camp in Cameroon. (KAREL PRINSLOO/AFP/Getty Images)


Boko Haram’s use of child suicide bombers soaring, UN says

by GEOFFREY YORK, JOHANNESBURG — Globe and Mail, Apr. 12, 2016

In a drastic escalation of one of its most shocking tactics, Boko Haram is forcing children as young as 8, mostly girls, to become suicide bombers for its radical cause.

A new report by a United Nations agency has found that the number of children involved in “suicide” attacks – often mobilized through deception or force – has soared more than tenfold since 2014 in northern Nigeria and the neighbouring countries Cameroon, Chad and Niger. The radical Islamist group has intensified its use of suicide bombings as it loses territory to advancing Nigerian soldiers.

The number of children involved in these bombings rose to 44 last year, compared with just four in the previous year, according to the report by the United Nations Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF). More than three-quarters are girls.

“These children are victims, not perpetrators,” UNICEF regional director Manuel Fontaine said in a statement Tuesday. “Deceiving children and forcing them to carry out deadly acts has been one of the most horrific aspects of the violence in Nigeria and in neighbouring countries.”

As Nigeria prepares to mark the second anniversary on Thursday of the extremist militia’s kidnapping of more than 200 schoolgirls from the northern town of Chibok, new evidence is emerging of the extent of the group’s brutal attacks on schools, teachers and children.

A report released by Human Rights Watch this week found that in the past seven years Boko Haram had destroyed more than 910 schools, forced the closure of another 1,500, killed at least 611 teachers and forced a further 19,000 to flee. It has also abducted more than 2,000 civilians, including the Chibok students.

Last year alone, Boko Haram organized more than 150 suicide bombings, up sharply from 32 in the previous year, and used children in almost a fifth of those bombings, UNICEF says, “yet their stories are barely told.” In total, more than 1.3 million children have lost their homes because of the Boko Haram insurgency.

Almost a million children have little or no access to school – partly because Nigerian soldiers have often used schools as military bases, according to Human Rights Watch. Boko Haram’s name can be roughly translated as “Western education is forbidden.” It has targeted Nigeria’s schools in its deadly campaign to impose its extremist version of Islamic law.

The world has “barely noticed” the destruction of education and the homelessness of more than a million children in the Boko Haram conflict, UNICEF says.

“The calculated use of children who may have been coerced into carrying bombs has created an atmosphere of fear and suspicion that has devastating consequences for girls who have survived captivity,” it adds.

“Boys are forced to attack their own families to demonstrate their loyalty to Boko Haram, while girls are exposed to severe abuse, including sexual violence and forced marriage to fighters. Some are also used to carry or detonate bombs.

The use of children, especially girls, as suicide bombers has become one of the defining and alarming features of the conflict.” Even after their escape or release, children are often still feared as potential attackers.

“Some communities are starting to see children as threats to their safety,” Mr. Fontaine said. “This suspicion towards children can have destructive consequences.

How can a community rebuild itself when it is casting out its own sisters, daughters and mothers?” In many parts of northeastern Nigeria, most schools have been closed for years.

An entire generation of children is being “robbed” of its education, Human Rights Watch says. “The lives of these children could become locked in unending cycles of underachievement and poverty.”


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