Tag Archives: Youth

Malaysia Feature | Refugees

The Hardships of Refugees in Malaysia

Although Malaysia has long offered refuge to persecuted Muslim populations, Malaysian law does not distinguish between asylum-seekers and undocumented migrants. As a consequence, refugees experience high levels of legal precarity, severely limiting access to healthcare, employment, and educational opportunities. Immigration police frequently raid businesses in search of undocumented workers, and children are frequently pushed into work because of an educational system with limited resources to accommodate them. While more than 164,000 refugees in Malaysia are officially registered with the UN Refugee Agency, many more languish in the long registration queue. Today, activists are working to pressure the recently installed government to become a signatory to the 1951 UN Refugee Convention and its 1967 Protocol to improve protections and access to opportunity for those seeking life and livelihood in the wake of war and persecution.

Read

‘We have nothing’: A life in limbo for Malaysia’s Yemeni refugees” (Al Jazeera | March 2019)

Inside Malaysia’s ‘Living Hell’ for Refugee Children” (NewsDeeply | February 2018)

Study

UNHCR Figures at a Glance in Malaysia

U.S. News | Migrants & Asylum-Seekers

Upwards of 4,000 children taken from families as immigration crackdown continues in U.S.
  • The implementation of a “zero-tolerance” policy for migrants and asylum-seekers seeking haven in the U.S. has led to nearly 4,000 children being separated from their families since October 2016, including 2,000 in less than a two-month period.
  • The separations have resulted from the criminal referral and subsequent pretrial detention of all adults crossing the border without authorization, a misdemeanor.
  • Although the Trump administration claims families seeking asylum at ports of entry are not included, several reports (including a case brought by the American Civil Liberties Union) have indicated asylum-seekers have been separated or deterred from entering as well.
Read

DHS: 2,000 children separated from parents at border” (CNN | June 2018)

U.S. govt says nearly 2,000 child separations at Mexico border in under two months” (The Thomson Reuters Foundation | June 2018)

The Trump administration’s separation of families at the border, explained” (Vox | June 2018)

 

U.S. News | Asylum-Seekers

U.S. government loses nearly 1,500 children as administration directs separation of families at border
  • Under direction from the Trump Administration, U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers have begun separating children as young as 18 months old from their parents and shipping them to detention facilities at times more than a thousand miles from where their parents are held.
  • The separation of children from their families effectively produces “unaccompanied minors,” who are then referred to the Office of Refugee Settlement (ORS) for placement.
  • The head of the ORS reported to Congress that the office had lost track of some 1,475 children who had been placed in its charge.
Read

Testimony of Steven Wagner on the Care and Placement of Unaccompanied Alien Children” (Office of Legislative Affairs and Budget | April 2018)

Federal Agencies Lost Track of Nearly 1,500 Migrant Children Placed With Sponsors” (The New York Times | April 2018)

What Separating Migrant Families at the Border Actually Looks Like” (VICE News | May 2018)

U.S. Research | Incarcerated Black & Latinx

Mixed Optimism in New U.S. Incarceration Statistics

Racial and ethnic disparities in incarceration in the U.S. have long been the target of research, with the gaps an indicator of the effects of unevenly policed populations and legacies of bondage, segregation, and criminalization. Nevertheless, the difference in rates of incarceration in federal and state prisons between groups has shrunk, and criminal justice reform advocates hope that the last decade has been an indication of a turning of the tide towards de-incarceration and the decriminalization of communities of color.

New data from the Bureau of Justice Statistics continue to enliven those hopes as they show continuing gains in 2016 in the wake of the incarceration apex in 2009, and analysts have begun offering a number of reasons for the tightening numbers, including changes in drug-related law enforcement and an increased focus on sex crimes. However, disparities at the the juvenile level have widened, and advocates and researchers continue to worry over the growth of contributing phenomena including the school-to-prison pipeline.

1,458,173 (2016) vs. 1,553,574 (2009)

Total number of prisoners (decrease of 6%)

486,900 (2016) vs. 584,800 (2009)

Number of black prisoners (decrease of 17%)

339,300 (2016) vs. 341,200 (2009)

Number of Latinx prisoners (decrease of <1%)

439,800 (2016) vs. 490,000 (2009)

Number of white prisoners (decrease of 10%)

33% (black) vs. 23% (Latinx) vs. 30% (white)

Percentage of prison population by race/ethnicity

12% (black) vs. 16% (Latinx) vs. 64% (white)

Percentage of overall population by race/ethnicity

1,604 (black) vs. 856 (Latinx) vs. 274 (white)

Number of incarcerated people per 100,000 adults in racial/ethnic group


Study

Prisoners in 2016 (Bureau of Justice Statistics | January 2018)

Read

The gap between the number of blacks and whites in prison is shrinking” (Pew Research Center | January 2018)

A Mass Incarceration Mystery” (The Marshall Project | December 2017)

Black Disparities in Youth Incarceration” (The Sentencing Project | September 2017)

Mass Incarceration: The Whole Pie 2017” (The Prison Policy Initiative | March 2017)

There’s been a big decline in the black incarceration rate, and almost nobody’s paying attention” (The Washington Post | February 2016)

Lebanon Feature | Syrian Refugees

The Administrative Precarity of Syrian Refugees in Lebanon

Syrians who have fled to Lebanon to escape the violence that has embroiled their home nation have begun putting down new roots while waiting for the conflict to end. However, cultural and administrative differences have left many Syrians in limbo as practices surrounding institutions like marriage remain unrecognized in their new, if temporary, home. Lebanon’s complex and financially taxing requirements of civil registration (including residency, marriage, and births) has disenfranchised many Syrians, leaving them in legally precarious situations even as the government works to lessen the burdens.

Undocumented children are denied access to IDs and passports, and parents and other couples lacking official work permits find themselves trapped in exploitative labor conditions to support their families. The financial vulnerability of Syrian families is driving intergenerational insecurity, particularly as it has led to an increase in child marriage rates in the country. Reuters examines the complex bureaucratic and cultural conditions shaping the marginalization of Syrian families in Lebanon.

Read

As Syrian couples say ‘I do,’ Lebanon says ‘No, not quite’” (Reuters | December 2017)

Additional

For Syrian refugees, child marriage robs a generation of its future” (The Globe and Mail | March 2017)

 

Caribbean News | Marginalized Communities

New database catalogs human rights violations for the Caribbean’s vulnerable communities
  • The Shared Incidents Database (SID) will document violations affecting people with HIV, sex workers, people with substance addiction, gay and bisexual men, trans people, vulnerable youth, migrants, and the incarcerated.
  • The database is a collaboration between the Caribbean Vulnerable Communities Coalition (CVC) and the Centro de Orientación e Investigación Integral (COIN), based in the Dominican Republic.
  • Human rights and social justice organizations across the Caribbean are being trained in the use of SID, which creators envision as a tool in program development, policy creation, petitioning, and reporting.
Read

Caribbean’s first online human rights database launched” (The Jamaica Observer | May 2017)

New Database Aims to Track Rights Violations of Caribbean’s Most Vulnerable Communities” (Global Voices | May 2017)

Caribbean’s First Online Human Rights Incidence Database Launched” (Caribbean Vulnerable Communities Coalition | May 2017)

South Africa Feature | Black Youth

The Fall Before the Rise in South African Higher Education

Over the last two years, a new set of student movements has situated the South African university as the site of a contentious conflict over higher education’s role in the perpetuation of racial and economic inequality. As the battle has shifted from public representation to economic access in the transformation of Rhodes Must Fall into Fees Must Fall, black South African students have taken on the deeply entrenched systemic and institutionalized inequality of South Africa’s higher education system. But beyond education, the struggle has called on South Africans to examine the “unfinished business of apartheid,” as one scholar has described it. BuzzFeed News investigates the emergence of the new student movements in South Africa and the stories of those driving its evolution.

Read

Poor, Gifted, and Black” (BuzzFeed News | May 2017)

Additional

The faces behind South Africa’s Fees Must Fall movement” (CNN | October 2016)

(Image Credit: Alon Skuy/The Times/Getty Images, via BuzzFeed News)

U.S. Feature | Children with Disabilities

Failing Students with Disabilities in Texas

An extensive multi-part series by The Houston Chronicle has revealed the devious tactics the Texas Education Agency and school administrators have deployed to reduce the number of students with disabilities their schools serve, masking an alarming decrease in support beneath the glean of “improved pedagogy” and “early intervention.” An arbitrary, unscientific 8.5% benchmark was set across the state for the percentage of students taught in special education classes, which necessitated a dramatic and at times aggressive reduction in the number of students evaluated and identified as in need of special education. From stories of families trapped in bureaucratic labyrinths to data on the disproportionate negative effect on English-language learners, the Chronicle series investigates the broken system responsible for the education of children with disabilities and the political struggle to right the listing ship.

Read:
Denied: How Texas keeps tens of thousands of kids out of special ed” (The Houston Chronicle)

(Image Credit: Marie D. De Jesús/The Houston Chronicle)

Turkey News | Girls

Outrage erupts over proposed bill in Turkey to clear adults married to minors of sexual abuse charges
  • The bill, approved after an initial reading and set for a second vote, would allow for the indefinite suspension of sentencing for sex “without force, threat, or any other restriction on consent” if the perpetrator marries the victim.
  • Women’s rights, children’s rights, and other advocates were swift to condemn the proposed bill, which they argue effectively condones statutory rape and child marriage.
  • Child marriage is illegal in Turkey, but non-civil religious marriages proliferate, particularly in the southeast of the country.

Read more:
Turkish ruling party sparks uproar with sexual abuse bill” (Reuters)
Turkish bill to clear men of child sex assault if they marry their victims” (AFP via The Guardian)
Turkey: Thousands protest against proposed child sex law” (BBC)

(Image Credit: Sedat Suna/EPA, via The Guardian)

France & U.K. News | Refugees & Migrants

France and U.K. resettle asylum-seekers in preparation for dismantlement of Calais camp
  • The government—with the help of more than 10,000 refugee aid agencies—has begun moving an estimated 5,000 to 10,000 asylum-seekers out of the Calais camp (known as the “Jungle”) and into “reception centers” throughout the country.
  • The UK has committed to accepting unaccompanied children across the border, although local agencies have expressed concern about a lack of planning to facilitate the transfer process.
  • The asylum-seekers are expected to spend an average of two months in the centers under the supervision of social workers before being again relocated while their asylum applications are processed, though some report having languished in limbo for longer.

Read more:
Migrants begin new life outside France’s ‘Jungle’ camp” (Reuters)
Calais migrant camp will be razed soon: French minister” (AFP via The Local)
Children in Calais Jungle to arrive in UK ‘in days’” (BBC)

(Image Credit: Regis Duvignau/Reuters)


 

Iran News | Gay Youth

Iran executes gay teen for alleged rape
  • In the Arak prison, the Iranian government executed Hassan Afshar, who was accused of rape by the parents of Afshar’s sexual partner.
  • Afshar maintained that the sex, which took place when he was 17, was consensual, but Iran’s sodomy laws make it difficult to ascertain consent in same-sex sexual relations.
  • International human rights organizations have expressed outrage at Iran’s practice of capital punishment for juveniles and for rape in opposition to international law.

Read more:
Iran: Hanging of teenager shows authorities’ brazen disregard for international law” (Amnesty International)
Iran’s First Juvenile Execution of 2016 Was a Gay Teenager” (VICE News)
Iran executes teenage boy for being gay” (PinkNews)

South Africa Research | Youth

Child Sexual Abuse in South Africa

Commissioned by the UBS Optimus Foundation, the Optimus Study is a first-of-its-kind national survey of the annual incidence and lifetime prevalence of child sexual abuse in South Africa, providing both a point-in-time and longitudinal perspective on South African child victimization. In the context of the study, sexual abuse is defined in both its contact and non-contact forms, including exposure (subjection to voyeurism, exhibitionism, and forced pornographic viewing), exploitation (involvement in sexual activities for pornography and/or prostitution), and contact (sexual assault and rape). With more than a third of schoolchildren reporting having experienced some form of sexual violence, the report offers a framework for addressing not only the high levels of abuse incidence, but also the negative outcomes associated with abuse including mental illness and lowered educational outcomes.

35.6%

Percentage of South African schoolchildren reporting having experienced some form of sexual abuse

36.8% (boys) / 33.9% (girls)

Percentage reporting having been sexually abused, by gender

15 (boys) / 14 (girls)

Average age of first incidence of sexual abuse

11.3%

Percentage who reported unwanted sexual touching by an adult

9.4%

Percentage who reported being made to do sexual things by another child or teen

11.7%

Percentage reporting being forced to have sex

12.9%

Percentage reporting exposure abuse

0% (boys) / 31.0% (girls)

Percentage who reported abuse by a familiar adult to police

~20%

Percentage experiencing trouble with schoolwork and/or school attendance in wake of abuse

2x (anxiety and depression) / 3x (PTSD symptoms)

Likelihood of those who experienced abuse to report symptoms of mental illness relative to young South Africans as a whole

Read:
Optimus Study South Africa: Technical Report (The Centre for Justice and Crime Prevention and the University of Cape Town)

Additional:
Perfect Storm of kids at risk: Why a third of SA’s children are sexually abused” (The Daily Maverick)
1 in 3 young South Africans sexually abused” (UBS Optimus Foundation press release, via Parent24)

Commissioning Organization: UBS Optimus Foundation

Eritrea Feature | Eritreans

25 Years of Independence and Suppression in Eritrea

As it celebrates the 25th anniversary of the overthrow of Ethiopian rule, Eritrea continues to hemorrhage citizens under one-party, anti-democratic rule. Indefinite military conscription, mobility restrictions, and the absence of civil liberties have greatly diminished prospects for Eritreans, driving youth from the country in droves and into trans-Mediterranean trafficking networks in which thousands have died. Some estimates put the emigration rate at 5,000 people per month, second only to Syrians in contributing to the swelling of the Mediterranean migration crisis in 2015.

The Eritrean government has been particularly unfriendly to journalists and other writers, who have faced high insecurity following the 2001 roundup of independent newspaper editors in a push by the Eritrean president to crack down on public dissent. In the diaspora, Eritreans have found themselves involuntarily bound to the government as attempts to access documents and send remittances has subjected them to taxes international monitors liken to extortion. Amidst independence celebrations, both native and diasporan Eritreans continue to work to organize an effective opposition against the presidential regime and bring about a democratic renaissance for the country’s disenfranchised citizenry.

Read:
Eritreans still denied freedom 25 years after independence” (The Guardian)
A quarter of a century after independence Eritreans still yearn for freedom” (The Conversation)
How to End the Eritrean Refugee Crisis” (The Nation, December 2015)
‘If we don’t give them a voice, no one will’: Eritrea’s forgotten journalists, still jailed after 14 years” (The Guardian, August 2015)
Outside Eritrea looking in: a diaspora that stands divided” (The Guardian, August 2015)
UN Inquiry reports gross human rights violations in Eritrea” (UNHCR, June 2015)

Watch:
25 years of independence in Eritrea: Thousands continue to flee repressive regime (France 24 English)
Eritrea: Delving into a Sealed-Off Country (Deutsche Welle, April 2015)

Follow:
Eritrea profile: Timeline (BBC)
2015 prison census: 199 journalists jailed worldwide (The Committee to Protect Journalists, December 2015)

Connect:
Eritrean Solidarity Movement for National Salvation (Simret)

(Image Credit: Boris Roessler/EPA, via The Guardian)

France News | Workers & Police

Massive protests against French labor reform bring about violence, arrests, strikes
  • Demonstrations have been ongoing since March, when labor and student unions organized against government proposals perceived as decreasing job security and negotiating power for workers.
  • More than 1,000 have been arrested during clashes with police in cities like Paris and Nantes that have seen more than 300 officers injured as protesters have alleged instances of police brutality, with police unions organizing counter-protests against anti-police violence.
  • After President François Hollande’s government survived a no-confidence vote, union leaders planned rolling strikes and continuing demonstrations across the country.

Read more:
Une semaine de grèves et manifestations pour relancer le mouvement contre la loi travail” (Le Monde, in French)
French police hit back at ‘anti-cop hatred’ after protest violence” (The Guardian)
French government shrugs off no-confidence vote, faces new strikes” (Reuters)

(Image Credit: Geoffroy van der Hasselt/AFP/Getty Images, via The Guardian)

U.S. Feature | People with Disabilities

The New Segregation

Long-term care for people with chronic illnesses and certain physical and cognitive disabilities has become an important civil rights battle ground over the last two decades. While media attention has focused on government responses to civil rights issues including anti-LGBT legislation and racial inequalities in the criminal justice system, the U.S. Department of Justice has opened more than 50 investigations into what it reports has been the segregation of people with chronic illnesses and disabilities in nursing facilities. Effectively institutionalizing people with disabilities, nursing facilities have detached an estimated 250,000 from economic opportunity and social life, despite a 1999 Supreme Court ruling that people with disabilities should only be placed in nursing facilities if medically necessary. The New York Times analyzes the push for home-based care and the DOJ’s active investigations into violations of protections secured under the Americans with Disabilities Act and the Supreme Court’s 1999 decision.

Read:
South Dakota Wrongly Puts Thousands in Nursing Homes, Government Says” (The New York Times)

Additional:
Feds: Relying On Nursing Homes For Those With Disabilities Not OK” (Disability Scoop)
Letter on results of investigation into South Dakota’s healthcare practices (U.S. Department of Justice)
Senate HELP Committee Chairman Tom Harkin Releases Report Showing ADA’s Promise of Integration is Not Being Met for Many Americans with Disabilities” (U.S. Senate press HELP release, July 2013)

(Image Credit: Thinkstock, via Disability Scoop)