Child Rights

National anthem protest: 9yo refuses to stand because anthem is for ‘white people of Australia’

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Teachers at a Brisbane primary school have disciplined a nine-year-old girl for refusing to stand for the national anthem during assembly. By Talissa Siganto and staff ABC Primary school student Harper Nielsen was given a lunch time detention on Friday for peacefully protesting against the song she said is “wrong”. “When it says ‘we are young’ it completely disregards the Indigenous Australians who were here before us for over 50,000 years,” she said. “When it was originally written, Advance Australia ... Read More »

Ending Child Marriage in the United Kingdom

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Hypocrisy Undermines UK pledge to Fight Child Marriage Overseas Heather Barr HRW This week Pauline Latham, a Conservative MP, introduced a bill to ban marriage before the age of 18 in England and Wales. She has support from across the political spectrum for an effort that is long overdue. In England, Wales, and Northern Ireland, children aged 16 and 17 can marry with their parents’ permission. In Scotland, the minimum age of marriage is 16, with no parental permission required. ... Read More »

The Family-Separation Crisis Is Not Over

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One father deported to Honduras struggles to describe the pain of remaining separated from his son. John Washington The Nation Jaime didn’t get a birthday cake on his fifth birthday. That day, he was 2,000 miles from his parents, Edwin and Maira, and only talked with them for about 10 minutes via a WhatsApp video call. Edwin, Jaime’s father, told me he mostly remembers that Jaime seemed sad and kept repeating he didn’t get a cake. “It was…too hard,” Edwin ... Read More »

Australian Catholic Church rejects calls for priests to report child abuse confessions

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Australia’s Catholic Church has rejected calls for priests to be compelled to report child abuse revealed in confessionals. By Euan McKirdy and Ben Westcott, CNN The Church said Friday it would accept “98%” of recommendations made by a high-level government inquiry into child sexual abuse, which uncovered shocking accounts of widespread abuse inside… But church leaders said that they would maintain the sanctity of confession, arguing to remove it would infringe on religious liberties. “The only recommendation we can’t accept ... Read More »

Why it’s so hard to hold priests accountable for sex abuse

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A grand jury report recently found shocking levels of child sex abuse in the Catholic Church. It uncovered, in six dioceses, the sexual abuse of over 1,000 children and named 301 perpetrator priests. Carolyn M. Warner The Conversation It also found that religious officials had turned a blind eye to the abuse. In response, Pope Francis, head of the Roman Catholic Church, wrote a letter addressed to “the People of God,” saying, “With shame and repentance, we acknowledge as an ... Read More »

‘Darkness surrounds me’: Nauru child refugee paints pictures of despair

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Medicated, terrified and traumatised, seven-year-old Ahoora has been held for five years on the island. Experts say his drawings reflect a broader, familial deterioration Saba Vasefi and Ben Doherty The Guardian Given pens, Ahoora draws. They are not the conventional drawings of a seven-year-old child: he draws pictures of children on fire, of sharks circling small terrified boys, of crying faces behind bars. Seven-year-old Ahoora, a refugee, has spent most of his life on Nauru. He arrived on the island as ... Read More »

To end abortion, don’t ban it. Support families instead.

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(RNS) — Anti-abortion leaders have been thrilled with President Trump’s nomination of Brett Kavanaugh to replace Justice Anthony Kennedy on the U.S. Supreme Court. Katelyn Beaty Many hope he can be pivotal in overturning Roe v. Wade, the 1973 decision legalizing abortion. Priests for Life has called Kavanaugh “exactly what we need on the Supreme Court.” Kristan Hawkins, president of Students for Life of America, tweeted, “THIS IS NOT A DRILL: Kennedy is RETIRING. We can overturn Roe and Doe. ... Read More »

Nauru hunger strike: Border Force abandons multiple attempts to move child to Australia

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Australian Border Force refuses to allow boy, who has refused food for 19 days, to travel with stepfather Ben Doherty The Guardian Efforts to move a 12-year-old refugee boy on hunger strike on Nauru to a hospital in Australia failed at the weekend, after the Australian Border Force refused to allow his stepfather to travel with him. The 12-year-old boy weighs just 36kg and cannot stand up, after more than two weeks refusing food. He is at risk of death within days, ... Read More »

You don’t have to look far to find human trafficking victims

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Many people think that human trafficking means kidnapping and moving victims across state or national borders. Laurie Charles The Conversation After working with human trafficking victims as a forensic nurse and now while teaching at Texas A&M University’s College of Nursing, I know that this often is not the case. I have found that many perpetrators find, entice and sell their victims right in their own backyards. Victims are often hidden in plain sight, leading everyone from police to health ... Read More »

Vatican expresses ‘shame and sorrow’ over abuse of 1,000 children by more than 300 priests in Pennsylvania

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The Vatican has expressed ‘shame and sorrow’ after a report detailed decades of abuse in the Catholic Church Chris Riotta Independent The Vatican has expressed “shame and sorrow” in its first response to a groundbreaking US Grand Jury report detailing decades of sexual abuse in the Catholic Church. The report accuses over 300 “predator” priests throughout Pennsylvania of abusing nearly 1,000 children — and the Church of conducting a systematic cover-up. However, the actual number of total abuses in those dioceses since 1947 ... Read More »

Nauru hunger strike: 12-year-old boy at imminent risk of dying

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Island staff report a looming children’s health crisis ahead of Pacific Islands Forum Ben Doherty The Guardian A 12-year-old refugee boy on hunger strike on Nauru for more than a fortnight is at imminent risk of dying, medical staff on the island say, but efforts to move him to hospital care in Australia have foundered. He is one of several critical child cases on the island – including a 14-year-old boy with muscle wastage so severe he may never walk normally again, ... Read More »

Cameroon’s Far North: A New Chapter in the Fight Against Boko Haram

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The Cameroonian government should aim at encouraging more Cameroonian Boko Haram members to surrender. ICG Community service, public confessions, symbolic ceremonies and vocational training can help reintegrate those who do not pose a threat. The government should also prepare for the demobilisation of some vigilantes. What’s new? As fighting between government forces and the Boko Haram insurgents in Cameroon’s Far North diminishes, a lasting peace depends on how the government deals with former members of the… Why does it matter? A well-designed policy toward ... Read More »

Argentina retains strict abortion laws by rejecting elective procedures

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Argentina’s decision to retain its stringent abortion laws has left Latin America and the Caribbean with some of the most restrictive abortion laws in the world. ABC Argentine senators this week narrowly rejected a bill to legalise abortion in the first 14 weeks of pregnancy, overcoming support for a surging abortion rights movement in the homeland of Pope Francis. The Senate’s 38-31 vote against the proposed legislation could echo across Latin America, where anti-abortion forces remains strong even if the ... Read More »

Children who have lost a parent to family violence need to be listened to

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Around the world, at least one in seven homicides are committed by a current or former intimate partner. Eva Alisic The Conversation In the United States, estimates suggest that, each year, a child may be more likely to lose a parent (the mother, in most cases) to intimate partner homicide than to be diagnosed with leukaemia. Many of these children witness the killing or its direct aftermath, often involving graphic scenes. Some try to intervene in whatever way they can. ... Read More »

Migrant kids were stripped, drugged, locked away. So much for compassion.

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WHEN ACCOUNTS of abuse emerged in June from a detention center for migrant minors in Virginia — children as young as 14 stripped naked, shackled, strapped to chairs, their heads encased in bags, left for days or longer in solitary confinement, and in some cases beaten and… Editorial Board The Washington Post This institution, the Shenandoah Valley Juvenile Center, near Staunton, couldn’t possibly be in America. And if it was, it had to be an extreme outlier — a place ... Read More »

Report: Church leaders pressured victims, cops over abuse

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HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) — A grand jury investigating clergy sex abuse in six Pennsylvania Roman Catholic dioceses found that church leaders were more interested in preventing scandal than… Mark Scolforo RNS The grand jury’s full, nearly 900-page, report is expected to be released in the next two weeks. But a court filing made public Friday, resolving one of many legal disputes over the report, included excerpts from the… According to the document, the grand jury concluded that victims were “brushed ... Read More »