The level of violence against children and cases of cholera in northern Mali are rising at an alarming rate since the area was seized by al-Qaida-linked Islamist fighters and Tuareg rebels following a March coup, UN officials said Friday.

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Separatist Tuareg rebels, Islamist armed groups, and Arab militias who seized control of northern Mali in April 2012 have committed numerous war crimes, including rape, use of child soldiers, and pillaging of hospitals, schools, aid agencies, and government buildings, Human Rights Watch said today.

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The Rwanda Demobilisation and Reintegration Commission, over the weekend, inaugurated a new child rehabilitation centre for the former child soldiers, who fled from the Democratic Republic of Congo-based rebel group, Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR).

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The United Nations envoy for children and armed conflict today voiced grave concern over reports of recruitment of child soldiers by Tuareg rebels and Islamist militias in northern Mali, stressing that both groups have a responsibility to comply with their obligations under international law.

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Motorcycles, school fees, counselling, cash: Thomas Lubanga's 'kadogo' (child soldiers) know what reparations they want from the International Criminal Court (ICC).

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The Security Council process of naming and shaming groups that recruit and use child soldiers has been effective in combating the scourge, the United Nations envoy working on the issue says, adding that, like slavery, this horrible practice can be eradicated with concerted action.

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Today, International Criminal Court (ICC) judges in The Hague delivered the Court's first verdict—a finding of guilt against former Congolese warlord Thomas Lubanga.

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The Sudanese People’s Liberation Army of South Sudan (SPLA) signed an agreement called an action plan with the United Nations today which renewed their commitment to release all children within their ranks. This new action plan, signed by the Ministry of Defence, the United Nations Peacekeeping in South Sudan (UNMISS), UNICEF, and Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Children and Armed Conflict, Radhika Coomaraswamy, also ensures that all militias currently being incorporated into the SPLA are child-free.

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Children as young as 10 years old increasingly face horrific abuse in war-torn Somalia as the Islamist militant group Al-Shabaab has targeted them to replenish its diminishing ranks of fighters, according to a Human Rights Watch report released Tuesday.

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