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Homecoming tough for Nepal’s child soldiers

Child soldiers returning to their homes in Nepal face difficulties in rehabilitating themselves, say local NGOs. Fears of torture and abductions by Maoist rebels and government forces continue to haunt these children, who are in dire need of psycho-social support from their communities.

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UNICEF Germany’s ‘Photo of the Year’ draws attention to issue of child brides

UNICEF Germany’s ‘Photo of the Year’ of a 40 year old groom with a child bride in Afghanistan raises global concerns about child marriages, widely condemned for their sexual abuse and violation of human rights. The bride in the photograph has just turned 11.

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Children still being used as cannon fodder in Sri Lanka

Recruitment of child soldiers in Sri Lanka by rebel forces has long been seen as a serious violation of human rights. A new report by the United Nations says that both factions of LTTE continue to abduct and recruit children to fight their wars.

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The shining star

The story of Anuradha, a medical student, who fought her disability to pursue her dream caught the jury’s attention at Canada’s first international film festival on disability. Girl Stars, supported by UNICEF, is a series of films that document the stories of young women and girls in India who have changed their lives, and those of others, by going to school.

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BBC starts contest to fight HIV/AIDS

An animated green parrot with a riddle is the latest campaign on HIV/AIDS launched by BBC World Service Trust in India. Targeting men in the southern states, where rates of infection are among the highest, the advert encourages people to talk about sex while trying to solve the clues.

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Guinea pigs of the world

Multinational drug companies and research institutions find places like India a prime destination for holding unethical clinical trials due to lax regulations there. It is estimated that 40% of these trials now are taking place in poorer countries of the world.

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Human rights in a world of terror

The International Advisory Commission of the Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative (2007) brought out a report, titled: Stamping Out Rights: The Impact of Anti-Terrorism Laws on Policing.

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The famous Jaipur Foot all set for makeover

For decades the Jaipur Foot – not only in India where it is made but also in many other countries – has helped people living a normal life despite losing their limbs. It is now being further improved by using new technology and material.

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Feminisation of HIV/AIDS in Pakistan

Deep-rooted social attitudes, practices and stereotyping are hampering progress towards dealing with the spread of HIV/AIDS in Pakistan. A cultural tradition of exchanged marriages known as ‘watta satta’ makes it almost impossible for women to disclose their HIV status.

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Pride of Sri Lanka’ Award goes to Ariyaratne

Dr. A. T. Ariyaratne, founder of Sarvodaya Shramadana Movement, received Sri Lankaabhimanya (Pride of Sri Lanka), country’s highest honour. He has been recognised for his five decades of service for the empowerment of the oppressed and his unflinching commitment to nonviolence.

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Hunger Bytes

The World Food Programme invites the online community to raise awareness on global hunger by participating in an international short video contest. The five most compelling clips, between 30-60 seconds in length, will be webcast through YouTube.

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Candles mark South Asian Women’s Day in Indian capital

The Central Park of the Indian capital was lit up by aspirations for peace in the region, as more than 20 organisations celebrated the South Asian Women's Day for peace, justice, human rights and democracy. This was also the spot where Anusheh Adil and her popular band BANGLA played a special piece for the day, as part of the SAARC Band Festival.

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Responding to violence against women

An international campaign - 16 Days of Activism against Gender Violence kicked off on November 25, the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women. The campaign will run till December 10, International Human Rights Day, to emphasize that all forms of violence against women are a violation of human rights.

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Afghanistan’s opium driven GDP

Opium accounts for more than half of Afghanistan's GDP (at 53%) in 2007, says UNODC's recent Afghan Opium Survey. The total export value of opiates produced and trafficked from the country hit $4 billion this year, of which three-quarters have been made by drug traffickers and insurgents, says Antonio Maria Costa, Executive Director of UNODC.

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Children are highest casualties in Bangladesh cyclone

Aid agencies have put the total death count at over 5,000 – more than half being children – four days after Cyclone Sidr wrecked Bangladesh’s southern coast. An estimated 400,000 children under the age of five have been affected by the fatal storm in Bangladesh, with many drowning or being injured by falling trees.

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Human rights body calls for ban on Burma’s gem trade

The Human Rights Watch has called for a ban on the import of Burma’s precious stones, saying the trade helps finance its military rulers to stay in power. The country is in deep political turmoil following the military junta crackdown against Buddhist monks and other civil protesters, who are being subject to severe human rights abuses.

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No more violence, cry Nandigram villagers

Forced to flee from their homes, the villagers of Nandigram now only want to be left in peace. The recent upsurge of political violence in this East Midnapore area in the eastern Indian state of West Bengal uprooted thousands now living in relief camps.

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Nine is Mine campaigners find support from child rights body chairperson

Eight children representing ‘Nine is Mine’ campaign met chairperson of the National Commission for the Protection of Child Rights in New Delhi on Children’s Day in India. They sought her support for demand from government to invest 9% of the GDP on health and education.

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Track and support MDGs

The MDG Monitor is a new web space that provides comprehensive updated information about progress on the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) in about 130 countries. Plans to make it available in multiple languages are also in the offing and this will benefit a number of non-English speaking countries and people across the world.

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Children say Nine is Mine

On the eve of Children’s Day in India, a petition signed by 300,001 children was submitted to the government, demanding 9% of the Gross Domestic Product to be invested in education and health.

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