“All children have the right to be protected from violence,” Marixie Mercado, spokesperson for the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) told journalists in Geneva. “The recruitment and use of children in armed conflict is one of the six grave children’s rights violations according to Security Council Resolution 1612 and those who commit such crimes against children must be held accountable,” she added. According to information provided, a mob stoned to death the boy and a 19-year-old as they were trying to steal a vehicle in a neighbourhood of the capital city, Bangui. The two were acting on orders from a Séléka officer known as “The Colonel”, who escaped from the mob.In a news release, UNICEF representative in CAR, Souleymane Diabaté, expressed sympathy to the families of the two young people and urged action against the groups linked to underage recruitment.“We call for urgent efforts to protect children affected by conflict, request the immediate release of all children associated with armed groups. Action must be taken against those who are recruiting and using children to commit crimes,” Mr. Diabaté stressed.In Geneva, Ms. Mercado confirmed the 17 and the 19-year-old had been demobilized from the Convention of Patriots for Justice and Peace (CPJP) rebel movement, and part of a group of 64 children and youths moved to Bangui when the Séléka launched an offensive in the country in December 2012. “Many were placed with foster families and some were re-recruited after the Séléka took over the capital in March,” Ms. Mercado said. Half of the population of the CAR – approximately 2.3 million – are directly or indirectly affected by the insecurity and the conflict, UNICEF today said, with most schools closed, health and nutrition centres looted and damaged, and water unsafe.“Right now, for example, there was a measles outbreak in Bangui, in a context where public health services were not strong to begin with the risks to children were enormous,” Ms. Mercado noted.“UNICEF called upon all authorities to establish law, peace and order as quickly as possible to protect civilians, especially women and children. They also called upon the authorities to protect humanitarian workers, ensure they could reach populations in need and that their supplies were not looted,” she underscored.Despite the prevailing insecurity, there were 809 national and international humanitarian workers in CAR, mostly concentrated in the capital Bangui, according to the Office for the Coordination for Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA).
Coming on the heels of unprecedented global activism and public outcry to end gender injustice and discrimination worldwide, the 62nd session of the UN Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) reached a robust agreement highlighting the urgency of empowering and supporting those who need it most and have, for too long, been left behind.The outcome of the two-week meeting, known as the Agreed Conclusions adopted by Member States, puts forth concrete measures to lift rural women and girls out of poverty and to ensure their rights, well-being and resilience.These include ensuring their adequate living standards with equal access to land and productive assets, ending poverty, enhancing their food security and nutrition, decent work, infrastructure and technology, education and health, including their sexual and reproductive health and reproductive rights, and ending all forms of violence and harmful practices.• Please read the full wrap up of CSW62 from UN Women here.
Whenever there’s any kind of discussion around the Catholic Church and sexuality it’s usually very negative and this represented something really unusual.The Novena was, she explained, an opportunity for people who are gay or lesbian to be welcomed into a Catholic church in a very obvious way.In the film, Fr Cusack explains that “the future has to be inclusion – you can’t build a world based on division”.It is, said Rodgers, a reminder that there are Catholic nuns and priests who are very inclusive.“The whole speech was about Kay and Stephen’s life stories,” she explained.It’s very hard for people to be judgemental when they come face-to-face with a real person who has a real life story and who has struggles and difficulties because of people being judgemental. It’s hard to maintain that judgement when faced with humanity.Read: Column: ‘Coming out’ as gay meant that, at 54, I could finally be myself> WATCH: How the child of a lesbian couple sums up Ireland’s family laws> http://vimeo.com/83843825FUNDING HAS POURED in for an Irish short film about a “unique event” in which two members of the LGBT community were invited to speak at a Novena.Novena, which is directed by Anna Rodgers and co-produced by her brother Hugh Rodgers, centres on a special mass at St Joseph’s Redemptorist church in Dundalk.The church holds a Novena mass every year, but last year the priest, Fr Michael Cusack, invited members of the LGBT community, Kay Ferriter and Stephen Vaughan, to address the congregation about their experiences of being lesbian and gay in Ireland.They spoke about feeling excluded by Catholic doctrine, and also on the topic of ‘the courage to be yourself’, which was the theme for that year’s Novena.Anna Rodgers told TheJournal.ie that they were delighted the Fundit campaign has already exceeded its goal. “It’s fantastic – we didn’t think it would happen so quickly.”They used Fundit after exhausting all possibilities in terms of traditional avenues.Rodgers said that using such a means of fundraising works in a number of ways. “While you’re actually getting the financial support, you’re also buildng a bit of community around the film,” she explained.Stephen Vaughn, first got in touch with her about the event. After meeting with him, Fr Cusack and Kay Ferriter, Rodgers was on board. “It was an instant yes, even though I didn’t have any funding,” she said. “Somebody has to record this.”She said that when she spoke to Fr Cusack, she saw he was coming “from a very genuine place”.Catholic Chuch“I think within the LGBT community there would be a lot of negativity towards the Catholic Church and a lot of people would have left the church,” said Rodgers.