Syria Deeply Karen Leigh (@leighstream) – February 10, 2014
Last week, the United Nations released a report detailing the myriad abuses of Syrian children by those on each side of the conflict. Since 2011, it alleges, children as young as 11 have been recruited to fight in battle, sexually abused and tortured in detention.
It cites U.N. Secretary-General Ban ki-Moon, who says that Syrian children have been subjected to “unspeakable suffering” and urging the sides to “take, without delay, all measures to protect and uphold the rights of all children in Syria.”
We asked Priyanka Motaparthy, researcher in the children’s rights division of Human Rights Watch who investigates violations of children’s rights in the Middle East, to weigh in in the severity of the problem compared with other war zones, the recruitment process, and what should be done to stem the tide.
Syria Deeply: How are the children recruited?
Priyanka Motaparthy: The way that the recruitment happens really seems to depend on the group doing it. That’s something the U.N. report was good about making clear. The Free Syrian Army (FSA) uses children in support roles and given those as young as 16 guns and sent them into combat. At the same time they were brought in through community networks: a father, an uncle, a cousin, someone in their family or personal network who was part of the battalion, and they would join alongside them.
Commanders and family members told me that they don’t see them as children. By the time you’re 12, 13, you’re a man, that’s how they think about it. We started seeing a phenomenon: that the boys we met weren’t in school, they were working in farms or restaurants or mechanic shops, they were illiterate. So part of it is that parts of Syrian society are rural or traditional, and you have children leaving school at earlier ages. And in a conflict setting when their parents are going to war, they do too.
There’s more awareness now that children should be kept out of combat, so FSA commanders are trying to hide them in storehouses or away from the hot areas. With the extremist groups, recruitment is more systematic. You have some of these groups trying to control schooling and they do Quranic schooling and use it as a way to bring children into their recruitment. There’s a cultural sense there as well, that once you’re past a certain age, you should behave as a man.
SD: Where is this happening the most?
PM: It seems like quite a problem in northern Syria, where you find groups like Isis and Jabhat al-Nusra. It’s also happening in southern Syria. The highest number of child noncivilian combatants have died in northern Syria.
SD: What are the most common offenses you see?
PM: We’ve heard stories of kids being sexually abused in detention, beaten and quite brutally tortured in security force detention facilities, and that was happening as early as March 2011. They’re aged 13 and up, and it’s primarily boys, but girls are also detained.
SD: What needs to happen to stem the tide?
PM: One of the the things we focus on is aid, and so does the report; it has strong recommendations for what needs to happen. You have children in Syria not getting vaccinations, children who are literally surviving on boiled leaves or what they can pluck from trees. They are using herbs for medicine. So I think what we’re hoping is that we’ll see some progress on the humanitarian front, including by the crossing of international borders, which has not been allowed at this time.
It’s one of the worst situations for children that you can find anywhere in the world. You have every single [worst-case scenario] happening. Children being raped, recruited as child soldiers, denied access to aid: every single one is happening in Syria.
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i share my comment, for their is no excuse to not hold self accountable when so many are working hard to help share what works..
is this type of incomplete information that we all need to be sensitive too;
i as a US resident experienced a lot of this accept for having to be asked to go to war w/weapons. but to grow up experiencing my father + siblings continually fight. as my father got beat w/a belt from his teacher when young so he knew nothing more then to do the same. as he went to WW2 not knowing any thing else. + he did not relearn it as he came back to have a family + beat them w/a belt.
leaving many scars mentally/emotionally + physically.
ok so subject content is not the same but hurt is hurt, no matter how you look at it. having sex at 8, not knowing what is right is wrong no matter how you look at it.
i recent the fact that cultures are not respected as those in war torn conflicts still yet to be aware we have another way, why?
our platform we are proposing reaches out to network so we all get on same page w/what sustains us. for we all are interdependent on our natural world + mother earth is being abused at the gain of a few.
so why support those that are programmed wanting greed/finances or control, it is all ill states of mind to be aggressive beyond a healthy ego.
if we globally share we can see these hidden threads while sensitive skilled can walk by your side + update each of us, if we welcome all in;
meaning our young as students to learn, as well the undeveloped student w/in us all. to come together virtually + trigger thought, not weapons.
meaning welcome those in that sell us the weapons, + that exceed mother earth developments + students can share another way that works.. not from a perspective of ex; Bill Gates association as he profits off vaccines. when yet each can become aware + network like ecosystem/season/subject + restore a ecologically sound science w/working communities harmonizing.
i do not agree w/ the way you talk about herbal medicine as if western medicine is great, wrong. many in the world that are sensitive + aware create local natural, not GMO gardens/foraged collective food/medicinal herb gardens, for all to prioritize local natural grown food sovereignty.
in these daily chores we assert a calm sense of human reality + sleep good at night awakening w/new neuro networks that can peacefully, w/ mental clarity make good choices.
realizing what we do is a resultant of our experiences, unless we learn + become aware of our human potential.
we can realize these behaviors passed down have been created by a handful of folks in the world that lost good intention + then as people grabbed on, disassociated energy fills the air, then + know.
but we can harness this energy + become aware w/ early signs + redirect as we maintain discipline over our self sensory observations vs belief that keeps us in aggressive acts.
+ each of you must take time w/energy + define this. I personally am happy to help.
for UN logs great but participants are not held accountable.
sec Kerry is not clear enough for good peace negotiations, nor is any 1 person. rather this is a serious web that takes a good plan + we have that plan. so together we go figure.
so the students within us all gain what we can to hold our self accountable as well others. so we all become a local, global + beyond participant.
every local community has people left behind + we certainly should clean up our own acts before sharing. but when it comes to so much continued chaos, our platform once formed, which i am studying now w/Google non profit ED apps to more efficiently reach out to the world. so we get serious + join in when others don`t understand.
i'm not set up to do that yet. but we do have our forum- i come to talk story, that gives a lot of exchange. but sure for one on the battle field, it a bit hard to stop between aggressive acts + read it.
but you + us all can make this happen for everyone every where has people in fear, + if we share + redirect others that can will.
so do it please. don't wait for anyone to come in + do it for you. put down your weapons + even if you feel those opposing you are wrong, await a time that you can communicate w/ all to make change peacefully.
realize your actions are continually hurting if they are destroying mother earth or the life on it that we all need to create our food, clean our air, water, build soil for our good food, not the GMO food that Bill Gates mode financially gains from that we can show on our forum good science showing how toxic it is.
don`t sell your self out to anyone, accept do stop the aggressive acts so you create a calm sense within yourself, + rethink as a child w/scared emotions, same as w/elderly + weak, have compassion.
i'm not asking you to get a degree, I am asking you to responsibly bring yourself to calm energy. + responsibly teach all around you to do the same. sure your area may not have good positive input so you can understand how those playing the stock market like war modes as well false green economies to confuse people so they continue to use their product or service.
do they do it intentionally, some say no, they are lost as well in it, programmed. do i think they are, i have learned to not assume anything, not ride on any ones wave, rather go within + edit, bring to calm for humans have a range of thought;
from 1 extreme that produces another, unless you stay centered. only then will you live within human flesh limits.
western medicine has been/still is very bad in US. but together we each can take part + globally we can make it better.
for while you people are in aggressive acts without, many in patches are living w/respect w/in mother earth`s enhanced limits;
enhance food security while conserving natural resources... Enhance
recycling of biomass and optimizing nutrient availability.. enhance
its sustainable productivity in order to ensure food security and the
sustainable... as a conduit for the dispersion of natural enemies within the field thus enhancing their impact on pest populations.
as Miguel Altieri states as he creates curriculum of agro_ecology from indigenous still doing. he can show you how Bill Gates mode is part of our global food crises, as well the proposed TTP/Fasttrack/Free Trade + even some Fair trade.
living local is the answer + working w/ a tapering transition is the way for us to get real w/our self.
same right now w/UN + the world working off of fossil fuels, sadly we all must work together for the Sustainable Energy For All, still runs on programmed modes, failing to see the that large developments are not low impact developments, so this is sad that still sound science is fragmented + this will not efficiently support those in pockets without as efficiently as small community developing their natural way can.
sadly the world is filled w/ so much fragmentation, so please bring yourself to calm + realize how important you are to work w/us all. so we can create + restore life, not kill it or injury so now it is more labor to manage what already is a mess in some pockets.
patches of good folks are willing + have energy to share what works, i am, so please communicate.
we want patches + pockets to connect so we all understand how simple life can be as we simply respect all life + work within the early signs that a healthy mind perceives.
please realize if you have dulled your sensors you cannot even feel yourself, let alone the life of another. this is an ill state.
same w/ the world markets that allow the puts + calls to gain at others loss. + all govs/UN seem to be giving answers yet no good sound collaboration for understanding to act.
so as people we ask all to take off their hats + use common sense that sure may be foreign to you, but give it a try, take a nice breath of air if fortunate to have it, + please let this trigger you to rethink + act..
come talk + we will rethink together your personalized issue in real time to resolve, as we bring the hidden worn torn links to the table so everyone understands. so good folks come together w/ energy to seek what is needed, for the world offers a wealth of good ways..
we want you to live in harmony as we do, + we are not interested in filing continued petitions/responses to our dull sensored legislators that continue to allow negative rebuttal to keep them unable to proceed as a responsible local, global + beyond responsible aware participant. meanwhile it leaves others over worked.
believe me i have done my part to invite them to work w/us. now i invite you, all of you at any age, for age is not important as our awareness. i'm learning from young + old all the time. so don't get hung up here, rather we want you to retain your peaceful traditions that sustain you + we want to learn as well.
so please come talk so we know your true story in real time. no more second hand waste of precious life.
be safe + please bring yourself to calm for any other state produces lack of clarity as it cuts off your circulation to think clear or be mentally strong.
warm wishes, kara j lincoln