Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Suffer The Little Children

When I started this blog a key goal was to highlight the effect of the American occupation of Iraq and it's attempts to dismember the country upon Iraqi civilians. In particular I wanted to draw attention to plight of widows and children. The human rights report for the period May 1st to June 30th has just been published I've extracted the section on children for you:

  • Death
  • Mutilation
  • Disease
  • Hunger
  • Fear
  • Rape
  • Poverty
  • Unlawful imprisonment
  • Orphandom

This is what America's occupation of Iraq has brought to Iraq's children. Mission accomplished, I hope you're fucking proud of yourselves:


45. Children remained victims in Iraq in many ways. Although not necessarily targeted, they are killed or maimed in sectarian-motivated attacks and in terrorist and insurgency acts. They are civilian casualties in MNF-I and Iraqi security forces-led raids against insurgents or militias, and suffer the most from other political, social and economic consequences of Iraqi's violent daily reality. The extent of violence in areas other than the Region of Kurdistan is such that likely every child, to some degree, has been exposed to it. Children suffering disabilities have also been unable to access adequate care and education.

46. On 26 June, 10 children were reported to be among at least forty people killed in targeted explosions on two crowded markets in Hilla and Ba'quba. Three children were reported as casualties in June clashes between the MNF-I and anti-Coalition forces in Maysan. Conversely, MNF-I informed UNAMI that only one insurgent was killed in this incident. In the first week of May, Iraqi police reported finding a group of 100 brutally murdered people in Karbala, among them a 13-year-old child.

47. In one case the body of a 12-year-old Osama was reportedly found by the Iraqi Police in a plastic bag after his family paid a ransom of some 30,000 US dollars. The boy had been sexually assaulted by the kidnappers, before being hanged by his own clothing. The police captured members of this gang who confessed of raping and killing many boys and girls before Osama.

48. Minors are often witnesses of extreme violence, killings and scene of carnage and dead and mutilated bodies. On 21 June, the dean of the Basra Abdullah Bin Om Kalthoum School was assassinated in front of his students.

49. Violence, corruption, inefficiency of state organs to exert control over security, establish the rule of law and protect individual and collective rights all lead to inability of both the state and the family to meet the needs of children.

50. According to the joint UN and Iraqi government food security and vulnerability analysis, children are the primary victims of food insecurity, with every one in ten child suffering from malnutrition. The survey also records the growing drop-out rate among pupils less than 15 years of age - 25 percent of students under the age of 15 lived mostly in rural areas and were identified as extremely poor. The main reason given for the dropout rate is the inability of the families to afford to pay for the schooling and schools being located too far away from home.

51. Another area where support to the Iraqi government is urgently required is that of juvenile justice. UNICEF has held a number of trainings for staff of the Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs on the need to improve the situation of the juveniles in prison. Juveniles are however often subjugated to the same lack of proper conduct by Iraqi police as are the adults. They are often held in police detention for a prolonged period of time without access to a social worker, lawyer, and sometimes even the family. Over 20 students, all age of 18, have been held in a police detention for eight months in Basra. Thanks to the Iraqi Ministries of Justice and Labor and Social Affairs, as well as the Coalition prison advisers, the practice to separate the adults from youth in prisons has made progress, although many facilities where minors are detained are still overcrowded and require further adaptations.

52. UNAMI HRO is also aware of the extreme hardship of the children of internally displaced families, whose numbers are growing every day. The living conditions are substandard, without access to education and health care services, trauma counseling, available support to children with disabilities, to mention a few examples.

53. Additional hardship for families and children is caused by the lack of adequate places to socialize, play and learn as would be necessary for their healthy development. Many Iraqis complain of having to keep their children at home for prolonged periods of time.

The full 22 page PDF report covers all aspects of the Human Rights situation in Iraq. and is available here: "UN Assistance Mission for Iraq Human Rights Report 1 May -30 June 2006"


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