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Swords into plowshares

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Swords into Plowshares is the blog of the Peacemaking Program and the Presbyterian Ministry at the United Nations of the Presbyterian Mission Agency of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.).

Seeking peace. Striving for justice. Together.

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Posts with tag: human rights watch

November 19, 2012

Persecution of the Rohingya in Burma

by Alexander Haines

Map of Burma showing location of RohingyaThe Rohingya, a Muslim minority group in Buddhist Burma, have faced systematic discrimination by the government and by the communities in which they live. Many have been denied citizenship, and government officials typically refer to them using pejorative terms. The Rohingya are not respected as native Burmese, and instead are thought of by many as Bengali. Doctors without Borders, Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch and the UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Myanmar have all reported endemic discrimination against Rohingya.

In the past six months ethnic tensions in Arakan (where most Burmese Rohingya ...

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March 29, 2012

Landmines: a continuing threat

On April 4 the United Nations will observe the 7th annual International Day for Mine Awareness and Assistance in Mine Action.  The Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) has a commendable record in the campaign against landmines, but the crisis is not certainly over.

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March 14, 2012

First ICC verdict addresses exploitation of children in situations of armed conflict

The International Criminal Court (ICC) announced its first verdict today. The court found Thomas Lubanga Dyilo guilty of conscripting, enlisting, and actively using children under the age of 15 in hostilities in the Ituri district of the Democratic Republic of the Congo during 2002 and 2003. Lubanga was one of the leaders of the Union of Congolese Patriots (UPC), a rebel group implicated in serious human rights abuses, including ethnic massacres, torture, rape, and the recruitment of children, some as young as seven. Congolese authorities transferred Lubanga to the ICC's custody in March 2006. His trial began in January ...

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March 12, 2012

Kony 2012 and children in armed conflict

by Jessica Hawkinson

Millions of viewers have tuned in to the KONY2012 video and campaign, recently released by the organization Invisible Children. The campaign encourages public support for the arrest of Joseph Kony, the leader of the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA), who is wanted for trial by the International Criminal Court. Kony is charged for, among other things, the widespread recruitment and use of child soldiers. The campaign also seeks to build support for the disarmament of the LRA and rehabilitation of these child soldiers.

For all of the support the campaign has gained, many key stakeholders have raised ...

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January 31, 2011

Children at risk - Sudan, Myanmar, Philippines, Gaza

The Office of the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Children and Armed Conflict provides links to stories about children at risk in several places around the world. Singers strive for peace in new Sudan: The bumping beats of African...

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April 22, 2010

No child soldiers!

During a retreat, staff members of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)'s Compassion, Peace and Justice ministry took time to create red hands to say that children should not be used as soldiers. Human Rights Watch reports that children are fighting as...

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February 19, 2010

Children are children, not soldiers!

Check out this equation of faith and love: 10 Presbyterian youth + 6 adult leaders + 2 Presbyterian United Nations Office staff people + some red paint + some cloth = 16 banners + a witness saying "No Child Soldiers"...

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February 3, 2010

Red hands say no child soldiers

Human Rights Watch reports that children currently are used as soldiers fighting in at least 14 countries around the world. They note that “Boys and girls alike are forced into combat, exploited for their labor, and subjected to unspeakable violence.”...

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November 26, 2009

Protecting civilians in South Sudan

Presbyterians recently initiated, signed and sent an interfaith letter calling for the deployment of United Nations Mission in Sudan (UNMIS) peacekeeping forces to protect civilians in South Sudan. The letter went to Susan Rice, U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations,...

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November 1, 2009

UN General Assembly to consider UN probe into Gaza conflict

The United Nations General Assembly will meet on November 4 to consider the report [PDF] of the United Nations Fact-Finding Mission on the Gaza Conflict. The Mission was appointed on April 3, 2009 “to investigate all violations of international human...

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January 5, 2009

Red Hand Day - February 12

One month remains in the Red Hand Day Campaign to end the use of child soldiers. Student, community, and other groups from all over the world have been collecting ‘red hands’ which will be presented to UN officials in New...

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December 18, 2008

Raise a Red Hand; Stop the Use of Child Soldiers

February 12, 2009 is Red Hand Day - the international child soldier’s commemoration day, a day to work to end the use of child soldiers. According to an optional protocol to the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child,...

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