In Mali, a Muslim dominated country in west Africa, rising and widespread violent crime and abuses by armed groups (both anti- and pro-government) and state security forces are threatening people in the northern and central regions.
5 children have been detained in a military detection center for over seven months, and they range between the ages of 15 to 17 years old. They were detained because one is a child soldier who joined the Movement for Oneness and Jihad (MUJAO), and the other four were suspected of having links to armed groups.
An Amnesty International delegation led by Secretary General, Salil Shetty said, “The children and adults are detained in the same prison and this is a very serious problem, dangerous to the children! This is totally against the national and international law of human right .” There was once a 15 years old boy joining the Jihad because of extreme poverty, but later was arrested by the Malian security forces. They tied him up, beat him in the back and blindfolded him. In fact, violations of human rights occur frequently, no matter if the victims are directly and indirectly involved in the Jihad. The victims had to face unlawful killings, indefinite detention, rape and sexual abuse, and many of them end up disappearing without any trace.
Since July 2013, the United Nation has announced that all children involved in armed groups need to be protected and escorted. [Amnesty]
Pray for Detained Children in Mali:
May all the children involving in armed groups, receive real protection, freedom and be freed.
May God have mercy on the children, that their total-being receive love and care, and a healthy lifestyle restored.
May the government have a real concern about the problem in human rights, and that all lives be respected.
[ ‘SHARE’ Sept-Oct 2013 – Myanmar – A Beam after the War Flame ] FOCUS ~ Country Development
The Lisu pastor serving the displaced in the camp
Author: Lisa CHAI, Senior Programme Officer
Habakkuk 1: 2- 3
How long, LORD, must I call for help, but you do not listen? Or cry out to you, ‘Violence!’ but you do not save?
Why do you make me look at injustice? Why do you tolerate wrong? Destruction and violence are before me; there is strife, and conflict abounds. (NIV)
For decades the Myanmar government armed forces and opposing non-state armed groups have engaged in armed conflict. The frequent occurrence and brutality of reported human rights violations by these armed forces caused us to cry out like Prophet Habakkuk. Why do the innocent suffer and perish? We ask God to intervene yet violence and abuses prevail. Over the years CEDAR has supported partners operating in conflict affected areas in Afghanistan, Sri Lanka, Pakistan, Nepal, just to name a few. I am reminded by the book of Habakkuk that in face of conflict situation, we may be perplexed yet God is continuing His work. In the midst of violence and destruction, development is possible.
Since the second half of 2011, CEDAR has put in much attention to evaluate and reflect on the impacts and directions of our children ministry. After a year of study and discussion, we finally set our focus to encourage community-based children development projects and to provide training to child care givers and service providers. This will be an collaborative effort with experienced overseas partners in order to give children better rights to protection, provision and expression.
Children at risk are the main target of our projects in Myanmar in partnership with local Christian partners. Full Moon is one of our local partners, founded in 1997 to provide hostels to conflict affected children. In January 2012, due to the ceasefire agreements reached by the Karen armed groups and the Burmese government, the local situation has so improved that our partner can start planning to help older children/youth to return and reintegrate into their home villages.
Prospect in the Coming Year
Conflict is a cross-cutting issue in Myanmar, having impact on various social issues, such as ethnic conflicts, education, health and hygiene, and human trafficking. Women and children are most vulnerable in conflicts. Therefore, in coming year we will endeavour to assist the resettlement of conflict-affected communities, particularly of the Lisu people in Kachin State and the Karen people in Mon & Karen State, and seek protection for women and children from human trafficking and exploitation, child labour and abuses through education and empowerment.
‘During a monitoring visit to Myanmar at one children home with children affected by cyclone, I used a “River of Life” exercise to encourage children to explain the events that they believed are important in the past, present and future of their lives. In the exercise, a girl drew picture of a school of fish swimming together before the cyclone in 2008, followed by a fish left along in the river after the cyclone. At the end of the river of life she had three fishes swimming together again. It breaks one’s heart to see her River of Life yet it helps us to understand the painful experience in her, allowing her to express this feeling and hopefully we and our partner can better response to her needs.’
After the exposure monitoring trips and discussions in the past two years, according to a series of measurement, such as the human development index (HDI), Gini coefficient, political and social stability, uniqueness and the possibility of monitoring project, we have finally chosen Ethiopia, Zimbabwe, India, Nepal, Myanmar and China to be the focus countries for our projects.