Ishmael Beah, former child soldier, helps amplify Syria youth voices
Ishmael Beah, author and former child soldier from Sierra Leone has been helping young Syrians in exile amplify their voices, the UN Children’s Fund, UNICEF, said on Thursday.
The UNICEF advocate for war-affected children wrapped up a three-day trip to Jordan where he helped around 50 young people from Jordan, Lebanon and Syria develop their advocacy skills.
Mr Beah also visited the Za’atari refugee camp near the Syrian border and a UNICEF supported-Makani centre in Amman where children and young people can learn and get psychosocial support.
After more than six years of war, more than 2.5 million children from Syria are now living as refugees in Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan, Egypt and Iraq.
Mr Beah said he believed young people who survive war could become champions of peace despite the horrors they have been through.
He said he knew from experience that all the pain, suffering and sense of loss of humanity endured could be refocussed towards something positive.
With UNICEF’s support, 120 young refugees and members of the host communities have trained as researchers for an innovative project where young people open up to each other about their lives and aspirations.
The researchers interview other marginalized young people to find their biggest challenges in order to help improve access to education and vocational training.
Stop suffering of people in Upper Nile, South Sudan, UN urges parties
The warring parties in South Sudan have been urged by the head of the UN Mission in South Sudan, (UNMISS), David Shearer, to “stop the suffering they are causing, take responsibility for the lives they have destroyed and to uphold their responsibility to protect civilians” as fighting intensifies once again in the north-eastern Upper Nile region.
Daniel Dickinson is the UNMISS Spokesperson.
Up to 25,000 people have reportedly fled their homes on the West Bank of the River Nile over the last few days following increased military activity. It’s reported that thousands have fled to the town of Aburoc, 30 kilometres north of Kodok where there are now an estimated 50,000 people, although some are now trying to cross over the border into Sudan after government forces took control of Kodok on Wednesday.
On Monday, humanitarian workers were evacuated from Kodok to Aburoc following advice from South Sudanese forces on the ground. Last night those humanitarian workers continued to further locations. The Upper Nile region has been a focus of military activity over the last several months.
UNMISS is seeking to gain access to Aburoc as quickly as possible in order to assess the security situation. However, the mission was denied clearance by government SPLA forces on Thursday to launch an air patrol to the town.
Pakistan counter terrorism efforts get boost from UN, EU
The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) and the European Union (EU) have agreed to help support Pakistani counter terrorism efforts.
A three-year technical assistance programme will train investigators, prosecutors and judges and promote the use of forensic evidence in terrorism.
The project will pay special attention to the volatile Khyber Pakhtunkhwa or KP province in the north-western region of the country.
It also aims to strengthen coordination between Pakistan’s lead agencies on the matter such as the National Counter Terrorism Authority (NACTA), the Counter Terrorism Department of KP, and the Islamabad Police.
Jocelyne Sambira, United Nations.