Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Girls and Conflict

Ian Wishart (Plan Australia) published a rather interesting look at girls in areas of conflict - and by that I mean girls who live in areas dominated by armed conflict. I would like to share this with you.

Helping girls best way to keep a lid on conflict
Ian Wishart - June 30, 2008

"Can you imagine your eight-year-old daughter engaged in battle with a gun? In wartime girls are drawn into violence in many ways. They can be forced from their homes, separated from their families and lose the chance of an education. They can be abducted by armed groups and forced to act as porters, camp domestics, combatants, spies and even soldiers' "wives". Of the estimated 300,000 child soldiers in the world today, approximately 100,000 are girls.

Even after war, recovery can be slow and painful. Boys usually gain preference in the recovering school system as girls are expected to care for younger siblings, marry or complete domestic chores. Some will even have their own children to look after, children conceived though sexual violence. These girls, and their children, will face discrimination and stigma in addition to the struggle to begin a post-conflict life.

Children do not start wars yet they are most vulnerable to its deadly effects. War violates every right a child has, the right to life, the right to be with family, the right to grow and develop their personality and the right to be nurtured and protected.War exacerbates injustices. This is particularly so for girls. Girls frequently face discrimination, exclusion, control, and various levels of emotional and physical violence in times of peace."

Plan has written the second part of its report - "State Of The World's Girls". I would like to submit my opinion on the article once I have read and explored this much further. For now, please read Ian's article in the Sydney Morning Herald in full.

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