Nicaragua faces growing crisis as teens commit suicide at rates twice that of the rest of Latin America
  • 23.7 per 100,000 teens commit suicide in the country, keeping school authorities on constant alert for signs of depression and suicide ideation.
  • Mental health services are limited as 75% of Nicaraguans lack access to them and patients admitted after having attempted suicide cannot be forced to remain under observation without their consent.
  • Researchers and medical practitioners speculate on a number of potential causes, including broken homes, natural disasters, and post-conflict psychological effects.

“In my generation, there was ambition and heroism. … Now, there is only lack of opportunity, loss of hope, and a sensation of impotence. They see no other way.”

More on this story at GlobalPost.

Chile toughens measures against racism, discrimination, and violence amongst fans at association football matches
  • The government approved sanctions including increased fines and jail time for those engaging in racist, xenophobic, or discriminatory behavior, including the football clubs themselves.
  • The law’s scope also includes training sessions, the movement or transportation of fans, and public celebrations.
  • The crackdown has been issued as an attempt to curb football violence as the Copa America tournament begins, hosted this year in Santiago.

“We want to make sure that fans and families can enjoy the game safely and in pleasant conditions. … We will do all that we can to put an end to violence and give the sport the feeling of a community celebration.”

More on this story at BBC.

(Image Credit: Reuters, via BBC)

Juan Felipe Herrera named U.S. poet laureate, the first Latino in history to receive the honor
  • Herrera’s family immigrated to California from Mexico in the early 20th century, becoming migrant farm laborers.
  • He went on to study at UCLA and Stanford before taking up roles as a writer and educator in a variety of contexts throughout California, and he hopes to continue the work of broadening poetry’s audience as national poet laureate.
  • His work includes poetry, novels in verse, and children’s books, and his success earned him the honor of being appointed California’s first Latino poet laureate prior to his national appointment.

“This is a mega-honor for me … for my family and my parents who came up north before and after the Mexican Revolution of 1910 — the honor is bigger than me.”

More on this story at NPR.

(Image Credit: Blue Flower Arts, via NPR)

Israel finds no wrongdoing in 2014 killing of four Palestinian boys by military forces
  • The internal investigation concluded that no misconduct had taken place as the children, who were witnessed playing soccer at the time, were mistakenly identified as combatants in an area that was a militant hotbed.
  • The attack generated international outcry, with some calling for war-crime charges to be brought against Israel.
  • More than 2,100 Palestinians were killed during last year’s Israel-Gaza conflict, most of them civilians.

More on this story at Reuters.

Colombia adds itself to the list of countries eliminating medical examination requirements for legal gender identity recognition
  • The Ministry of Justice and the Ministry of the Interior effected the change last Friday, removing the physical and psychiatric
  • Individuals now only need to submit their civil registry form, a copy of their ID card, and a sworn declaration to a notary public to register their identity, after which point the notary will have five days to complete the registration.
  • Subsequent changes to gender identity can only be made after a decade and can only be made twice in one’s lifetime.

“Judges used to order bodily inspections to determine if people had physically changed their sex, or demanded a psychiatric exam to know if the applicant had gender dysphoria. … Both exams were profoundly invasive of privacy rights and were rooted in unacceptable prejudice. The construction of sexual and gender identity is an issue that doesn’t depend on biology.”

More on this story at Americas Quarterly.

English primary schools see enrollment levels not experienced since the 1970s as the ethnic minority child population continues to increase
  • Primary-school enrollment has grown by nearly 100,000 (2.1%) in the last year, with an increase by 10 since 2014 to 87 schools that now have at least 800 pupils.
  • Minority children make up 71% of the increase, bringing the total enrollment proportion to 30.4% of students.
  • With enrollment projected to grow by 460,000 over the next five years, the government has announced increased funding to protect per-capita spending and exert downward pressure on class size.

More on this story at BBC.

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Ethnic minority youth in the U.S. face high levels of disconnection from school and work, according to new report
  • The Measure of America study finds that while youth disconnection rates have fallen in the post-recession period, African-American and Native American youth lead disconnection rates at 21.6% and 20.3%, respectively, with Latinos following at 16.3%; levels are lowest among Asian Americans (7.9%) and whites (11.3%).
  • Disconnection often occurs among youth in struggling families who lack the resources or connection to resources that provide educational and economic opportunity.
  • Residential segregation exacerbates disconnection likelihood as minority-concentrated neighborhoods often see divestment in services and resources, including schools.

“This time of life is hugely important to what kind of life you live as an adult. … Disconnection really stunts your development and leads to a future of limited horizons and unrealized potential, and that has a very high cost on the individual and on society.”

More on this story at NBC News.

Ethnic minority women from Thailand’s mountains find difficulties in adjustment and opportunity in the country’s urban centers
  • Government and international efforts to crackdown on deforestation, rebel territories, and drug production have driven many of Thailand’s “hill people” into the cities.
  • There, women in particular often find labor only in fruit and flower preparation or selling embroidery, which provide uneven wages at or below subsistence levels and renders women vulnerable to trafficking.
  • With little money for services, community members often rely on religious institutions for service provisions including identity card acquisition assistance and schooling for children.

“It’s better to live in the city. We don’t have land to farm in the mountains. If we had land in the mountains, I would prefer to live there.”

More on this story at Equal Times.

(Image Credit: Konstantina Vasileva, via Equal Times)

Slovak LGBTI activists postpone Pride and turn to new initiatives to promote visibility and equality
  • Citing the hostile environment that has emerged following conservatives’ failure to generate sufficient turnout in the February referendum on same-sex marriage, adoption, and education rights, organizers have canceled this year’s Rainbow Pride in Bratislava.
  • In lieu of the event, nearly 40 NGOs are supporting the establishment of a platform sharing the stories of same-sex and unmarried heterosexual couples and children born outside of marriage.
  • The initiative comes as rights groups have become frustrated with the government’s lack of commitment to a timeline for the establishment of legal protections for same-sex couples.

“Slovakia needs to hear the life stories of LGBTI people, their parents, children, friends and colleagues. … Thus, we are going to collect your stories, in collaboration with the Life Partnership platform, which we will then be able to bring to all people in Slovakia.”

More on this story at The Slovak Spectator.

(Image Credit: The Slovak Spectator)

Sri Lankan religious leaders caution against return of refugees from abroad as social conditions remain unstable in the aftermath of the country’s 26-year-long civil war
  • Australia’s immigration minister recently visited Sri Lanka
  • Despite human rights abuses by the authoritarian regime that extended after its 2009 fall, Australia has returned Sri Lankan asylum seekers, potentially in violation of international law.
  • Ongoing military presence in communities has fueled insecurity, causing minority leaders to call on Australia not to return refugees but engage the new Sri Lankan government on demilitarization and minority protection.

“The minority communities are of the opinion still that we do not feel safety and security in this island. And that is one of the reasons that they are also fleeing. There may not be abductions but there can be constant harassment and intimidations.”

More on this story at The Guardian.

(Image Credit: Lakruwan Wanniarachchi/AFP/Getty Images, via The Guardian)

Maharashtra state government issues show-cause notices to 10 Mumbai schools classified as “minority schools”
  • The notices have arrived as officials claim the schools have not enrolled any minority students in the last three years in flagrant violation of the 51% admissions quota required for the special designation.
  • Schools designated as “minority schools” receive special government assistance with infrastructure.
  • Four of the ten schools are designated for either the Christian and Parsi communities, with the rest identified in association with the Jain community.
  • Maharashtra has 2,490 educational institutions with minority status designations.

More on this story at The Hindu.