Impact of Armed Conflict on Children

Children at both ends of the gun

Child soldiers are “more obedient, do not question orders and are easier to manipulate than adult soldiers.”

War games in the divided city of Mostar (Bosnia and Herzegovina)
Photo: War games in the divided city of Mostar (Bosnia and Herzegovina). The psychosocial effects of armed conflict on children can be devastating and may haunt them through life, says the Machel report, particularly when children are attacked by those they have considered neighbours and friends, as happened in Rwanda and former Yugoslavia. ©

The exploitation of children in the ranks of the world’s armies must end, says a new United Nations report. “One of the most alarming trends in armed conflict is the participation of children as soldiers,” declares the report, by Graça Machel, the Secretary-General’s Expert on the Impact of Armed Conflict on Children.

The report says the use of child soldiers is a problem created by adults, to be eradicated by adults. It calls for a global campaign to demobilize all child soldiers and to “eradicate the use of children under the age of 18 years in the armed forces.” The report further calls upon governments to renounce the practice of forced recruitment, which has put increasing numbers of children under arms against their will.

“Children are dropping out of childhood,” commented Devaki Jain of India, one of Ms. Machel’s Eminent Persons’ Group of advisers. “We must envision a society free of conflict where children can grow up as children, not weapons of war.”

The use of child soldiers is hardly new. “Children serve armies in supporting roles as cooks, porters, messengers and spies,” the report notes. “Increasingly, however, adults are conscripting children as soldiers deliberately.” Children under 15 years of age are known to be serving in government or opposition forces in at least 25 conflict zones and it is estimated that some 200,000 child soldiers under 16 years of age saw armed combat in 1988. Generally, however, child soldiers are statistically invisible as governments and armed opposition groups deny or downplay their role.

The 1989 Convention on the Rights of the Child defines childhood as below the age of 18 years, although it currently recognizes 15 as the minimum age for voluntary or compulsory recruitment into the armed forces. However, momentum is building for an Optional Protocol to the Convention that would raise the minimum age to 18.

With new weapons that are lightweight and easy to fire, children are more easily armed, with less training than ever before. Moreover, as was stated in one background paper prepared for the Machel report, child soldiers are “more obedient, do not question orders and are easier to manipulate than adult soldiers.” And they usually don’t demand pay.

A series of 24 case-studies on child soldiers, covering conflicts over the past 30 years, makes it clear that tens of thousands of children — many under the age of 10 — have been recruited into armies around the world. In Liberia, children as young as seven have been found in combat, while in Cambodia, a survey of wounded soldiers found that 20 per cent of them were between the ages of 10 and 14 when recruited. In Sri Lanka, of 180 Tamil Tiger guerrillas killed in one government attack, more than half were still in their teens, and 128 were girls. Solid statistics are hard to come by, however, as most armies and militia do not want to admit to their use of child soldiers.

According to the report, children are often press-ganged from their own neighbourhoods where local militia or village leaders may be obliged to meet recruitment quotas. In the Sudan, children as young as 12 have been rounded up from buses and cars. In Guatemala, youngsters have been grabbed from streets, homes, parties, and even violently removed from churches. In the 1980s, the Ethiopian military practised a ‘vacuum cleaner’ approach, recruiting boys, sometimes at gunpoint, from football fields, markets, religious festivals or on the way to school.

The report deplores the fact that children are often deliberately brutalized in order to harden them into more ruthless soldiers. In some conflicts, children have been forced to commit atrocities against their own families. In Sierra Leone, for example, the Revolutionary United Front forced captured children to take part in the torture and execution of their own relatives, after which they were led to neighbouring villages to repeat the slaughter. Elsewhere, before battle young soldiers have been given amphetamines, tranquillizers and other drugs to “increase their courage” and to dull their sensitivity to pain.

Some children become soldiers simply to survive. In war-ravaged lands where schools have been closed, fields destroyed, and relatives arrested or killed, a gun is a meal ticket and a more attractive alternative to sitting home alone and afraid. Sometimes a minor soldier’s pay is given directly to the family.

For girls, recruitment may lead to sex slavery. The report notes that in Uganda, for instance, young girls abducted by rebel forces were commonly divided up and allocated to soldiers to serve as their ‘wives’. A case-study from Honduras, prepared for the Machel report, illustrates one child’s experience of joining armed groups:

“At the age of 13, I joined the student movement. I had a dream to contribute to make things change, so that children would not be hungry … later I joined the armed struggle. I had all the inexperience and fears of a little girl. I found out that girls were obliged to have sexual relations ‘to alleviate the sadness of the combatants. And who alleviated our sadness after going with someone we hardly knew? At my young age I experienced abortion … In spite of my commitment, they abused me, they trampled my human dignity. And above all, they did not understand that I was a child and that I had rights.”

It is difficult to reintegrate demobilized children after a peace settlement is reached. Many have been physically or sexually abused by the very forces for which they have been fighting, and have seen their parents killed, sometimes in the most brutal manner, in front of their eyes. Most have also been led into participating in murder, rape and other atrocities. These children have no skills for life in peacetime and they are accustomed to getting their way through violence.

The report urges that all future peace agreements include specific measures pertaining to the demobilization and reintegration of child soldiers, ranging from job creation and the rebuilding of schools, to the training of teachers who are sensitive to the special needs of child victims of war.

The report calls on governments to regularize recruitment procedures for their armed forces and to prosecute violators to ensure that under-age recruitment does not occur. The Machel report also illustrates how the recruitment of children can at least be minimized when parents and communities are better informed about existing national and international law.

While much remains to be done, there have been some successes. In Peru, for example, forced recruitment drives reportedly declined in areas where they were denounced by parish churches. And in Myanmar, protests from aid agencies led to the release of boys forcibly recruited from a refugee camp. In the Sudan, humanitarian organizations have negotiated agreements with opposition groups to prevent the recruitment of children.

Source: UNICEF

UNICEF campaign for the disarmament of (female) child soldiers in Sri Lanka
A billboard campaign in Sri Lanka highlighting the plight of girl child soldiers. (Photo: Rebecca Murray/IRIN)

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The Preacher and the Aged Woman

Myself . By T.V. Antony Raj


Old lady with cigar


During his morning walk on a pleasant Saturday, the preacher saw an aged woman seated on her front step, happily puffing a cigar. He walked up to her. “Good morning ma’am,” the preacher greeted her.

She looked up, smiled at him.

“May, I sit?” he asked.

Puffing the cigar, she moved a wee bit to her left and patted the space to her right. He sat beside her. For a few minutes, both sat silently just looking around.

“Do you walk daily? You look virile and healthy,” the woman asked.

The preacher felt flattered. “Yes. How about you?” he asked in return.

She smiled. “I don’t exercise at all,” she replied.

“Is it so. I couldn’t help but notice how happy you look. What is your secret?” he asked the ever smiling woman.

“My secret? It’s the cigars! I smoke more than a dozen a day,” she said proudly.

“Oh,” gasped the preacher.

“The extra big joint before I go to bed helps me to rise refreshed in the morning,” she added.

The preacher couldn’t believe his ears.

She continued, “Apart from that, I drink a whole bottle of Jack Daniels every other day.”

“What do you eat?”

“I eat junk food all the time at fast-food outlets.”

“What do you do on weekends?”

“On weekends? I pop pills, have sex! In fact, I’m waiting for my date to turn up any moment!” the woman beamed happily.

“You are absolutely amazing ma’am! By the way, how old are you?”

“Only sixty-nine. I am sweet 69. I love being 69!”

“Isn’t it wrong for living so frivolously at your age?” the preacher inquired.

“What? Wrong?” She snorted. “You are a preacher, aren’t you? Have you not read your bible? Go and read: Ecclesiastes 8:15, Isaiah 22:13, and 1 Corinthians 15:32 where you will find whether what I do is right or wrong. “

On seeing a car approaching the woman got up and said, “Goodbye. Go, read your bible.”

As soon as the preacher reached home he picked King James lying on his study table. He hurriedly turned the pages of the bible and read:

Then I commended mirth, because a man hath no better thing under the sun, than to eat, and to drink, and to be merry: for that shall abide with him of his labour the days of his life, which God giveth him under the sun.
(Ecclesiastes 8:15)

And behold joy and gladness, slaying oxen, and killing sheep, eating flesh, and drinking wine: let us eat and drink; for tomorrow we shall die.
(Isaiah 22:13)

If after the manner of men I have fought with beasts at Ephesus, what advantageth it me, if the dead rise not? let us eat and drink; for tomorrow we die.
(1 Corinthians 15:32)



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She Drank Blood …

Myself . By T.V. Antony Raj


A female vampire
Note: This image is for illustration only.

Coimbatore, India
February 26, 2013


The Coimbatore Medical College and Hospital (CMCH) in Coimbatore, Tamilnadu, India admitted a 28-year-old woman for allegedly drinking blood of stray dogs and chicken which she killed herself.

According to the report filed at the Annur police station the woman the wife of a daily wage laborer from Rajasthan was mentally afflicted recently. The couple resides at Maniakarampalayam in Coimbatore and have two children: a four-year-old daughter and a four-month-old infant.

Friday last week, she tried to drown her four-month-old infant by immersing the child in a water tub at home, but fortunately neighbors saved the child and phoned her husband. A few minutes after the husband arrived, the woman tried to strangle her four-year-old daughter ranting incessantly, “I want blood! I want blood!”

The following day, she killed a stray dog that loitered near her house and drank its blood. Even then her thirst for blood was not assuaged. She sucked the blood from the carcasses of two chickens which she killed by biting off their heads one by one. On witnessing this horrendous act, her husband took her to the Annur Government Hospital. There too she kept on ranting: “I want blood! I want blood!”

The doctors at the Annur Government Hospital referred the woman to the CMCH for psychiatric treatment.

Dr. P. Sivaprakasam, resident medical officer at CMCH said they are treating her for ‘dissociation’, a mental ailment that occurs due to severe trauma over a period of time. In this woman’s case, her alcoholic husband ill-treated her. “This woman was venting her suppressed emotions,” the doctor added.

After reading the above news in the papers a neighbor asked me, “can humans drink fresh animal blood?”

I do not have an answer for this query. However, I found that the Maasai (sometimes spelled “Masai” or “Masaai”), a Nilotic ethnic group of semi-nomadic people in Kenya and northern Tanzania, and the Surma tribe residing in South Sudan and southwestern Ethiopia believe drinking fresh blood drawn from living cows makes the body stronger and warmer and good for children and the elderly to build up their strength. These tribes follow the traditional ceremonies of gathering blood from cows zealously.

The men puncture the jugular vein of the cow by shooting an arrow at close range. They collect the blood in gourd vessels and drink it neat or after diluting it with milk. They do not allow the animals to bleed but carefully tend them until the wound heals fully.

Outsiders are normally not allowed to witness these rites.

WARNING: If you have a weak heart please do not see this video as well as the videos cited under ‘RELATED VIDEOS.’






Saudi Preacher Who Raped and Tortured Daughter to Death Spared After Paying “Blood Money”

Myself . By T.V. Antony Raj


According to Islāmic laws a father cannot be executed for murdering his children, nor can husbands be executed for murdering their wives.

A Saudi money exchanger counts Saudi riyals in Riyadh
Blood Money

Fayhan al-Ghamdii, raped his five-year-old daughter Lamia al-Ghamdi for a prolonged period and tortured her. The little girl admitted to a hospital on December 25, 2011 with multiple injuries, including a crushed skull, broken ribs and extensive bruises and burns eventually died after ten months on October 22, 2012.

The authorities imprisoned Fayhan al-Ghamdii, a Saudi Islāmic preacher and a regular guest on Muslim television networks. He confessed to this monstrosity of having used cables and a cane to inflict the injuries, the activists from the group “Women to Drive,” said in a statement.

However, he was in prison just for a few months. In a cruel twist of Islāmic justice, the judge ruled the prosecution could only seek “blood money (compensation for the next of kin under Islāmic law),” and the time the defendant had served in prison since the little girl’s death suffices as punishment. According to Islāmic laws a father cannot be executed for murdering his children, nor can husbands be executed for murdering their wives.

The authorities released Fayan after he paid about $48,000 as “blood money.”

A few years ago, some clerics in a mosque took this monster Fayhan al-Ghamdii, a drug addict, under their wing. They even helped pay for his marriage with Sayeda Hamadari. After a while, unable to cope with his cruelty and violence his wife asked for divorce. Sayeda agreed to allow her estranged husband to see their daughter could periodically.

During one of the daughter’s visits, Fayan requested the mother to allow him to keep their daughter for a fortnight because he wanted her to become used to his ‘presence in her life.’. The mother consented. During those two weeks, Fayan subjected the five-year-old girl to all types of cruelty and torture including beating and blows to her head that resulted in multiple fractures, mutilation, and even cauterized her. The little girl’s mother said that hospital staff told her that the “child’s rectum had been torn open, and the abuser had attempted to burn (cauterize) it closed.”

When asked why he had tortured his daughter to death, the sick minded father said he suspected the conduct of his daughter and doubted her virginity.

Sayeda Hamadari, the girl’s mother, now divorced from the cleric wanted her former husband’s death. “I want him killed. I want the full Islāmic punishment. This is God’s law,” she said.

Members of the Saudi Arabia’s Royal Family are now believed to have blocked Fayhan al-Ghamdii’s release after the case attracted international attention, and have promised to uphold a stronger sentence.



My Wife Doesn’t Work!


By T. V. Antony Raj



Brent went to see his doctor.

Doctor: How are you?

Brent: I feel tired working all the time.

Doctor: Where do you work?

Brent: I am an accountant in a bank.

Doctor: Your Wife?

Brent: She doesn’t work. She just stays at home. I am the sole provider.

Doctor: What does she do at home?

Brent: She cooks and cleans the house because she doesn’t work.

Doctor: Can’t she find work?

Brent: She can’t even write her own résumé!

Doctor: Has she not studied?

Brent: She has. But not enough.

Doctor: Why don’t you ask her to join some finishing school?

Brent: I want her to, but she’s confused.

Doctor: Why?

Brent: It’s seven years since we got married. We have a five-year-old son, but we want one more child, and she is getting old.

Doctor: So why don’t you have the next child?

Brent: Both of us are a bit confused in this matter.

Doctor: Why are you both confused?

Brent: Even yesterday she asked me what I would like her to do: go to work, go to school, or bear a second child?

Doctor: What did you say?

Brent: I told her to do all three.

Doctor: What did she say?

Brent: She is adamant and says how can she do all three when she cannot do any two at the same time.

Doctor: Isn’t she right?

Brent: No. She doesn’t want to work. She just wants to stay at home.

Doctor: Who prepares breakfast for the family?

Brent: My wife of course, because she doesn’t work.

Doctor: At what time does your wife wake up in the morning?

Brent: Around 5 AM, I guess.

Doctor: Why does she wake up so early?

Brent: Because she cleans the house first before preparing breakfast.

Doctor: Who takes your son to school?

Brent: My wife does.

Doctor: Why don’t you take your son to school?

Brent: Because she doesn’t work.

Doctor: What does your wife do after leaving the child in school?

Brent: She goes to the market to buy necessary things for the house.

Doctor: And then what does she do?

Brent: She comes home and cooks.

Doctor: Who does the laundry?

Brent: My wife of course, because she doesn’t work.

Doctor: Who does the gardening?

Brent: My wife of course, because she doesn’t work.

Doctor: In the evening, after you return home from work, what do you do?

Brent: I take a complete rest after working all day at my office.

Doctor: What does your wife do when you are resting?

Brent: She prepares dinner.

Doctor: After dinner what does she do?

Brent: She washes the dishes.

Doctor: And then what does she do?

Brent: She reads bedtime stories to my son before he sleeps.

Doctor: Why don’t you read bedtime stories to your son instead of your wife?

Brent: Why should I? My wife doesn’t work!


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Video: Help a Child Reach 5


Myself By T.V. Antony Raj


The World Health Organization (WHO) defines diarrhea (or diarrhoea) as the health disorder of having three or more loose or fluid bowel movements per day or having more stools than is normal for a person.

DiarrheaMany people have a bout of diarrhea once or twice each year. Typically frequent bowel movements last two to three days, and in most cases treated with over-the-counter (OTC) medicines. In some people, diarrhea often occurs as part of irritable bowel syndrome or due to other chronic diseases of the large intestine. The loss of essential fluids due to diarrhea cause dehydration that cause electrolyte disorders like potassium deficiency as well as other salt imbalances.

Though diarrhea is very common and usually not serious in normal circumstances, WHO  considers it as the major cause of death in developing countries and the second most frequent cause of infant deaths worldwide.


In 2009, diarrhea caused the death of 1.5 million children under the age of five and 1.1 million people aged five and over.

The most common cause of diarrhea is the infection of the gut by a virus. The infection sometimes called “intestinal flu” or “stomach flu” lasts usually for two to three days. Diarrhea may also be caused by:

      • Infection by bacteria (the cause of most types of food poisoning)
      • Infections by certain other organisms,
      • Eating foods that upset the digestive system,
      • Malabsorption where the digestive system is unable to absorb adequately certain nutrients present in the diet,
      • Allergies to certain foods,
      • Diabetes,
      • Some medications,
      • Radiation therapy,
      • Diseases of the intestines like Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis,
      • Hyperthyroidism,
      • Some types of cancer,
      • Excess use of laxatives,
      • Excess consumption of Alcohol,
      • Surgery in the digestive tract,
      • Competitive running.

Diarrhea may also follow a constipation in people who have irritable bowel syndrome.

Recently, I came across this video on YouTube. It is an advertisement produced for Lifebuoy. Normally, I do not endorse advertisements. However, I wish to share the video with you for the way it caught my attention and led me to the subject of diarrhea.





Yet Another Scam: I Receive This SMS Message Only on Sundays


Myself By T.V. Antony Raj



It happened again. Today too I received the following SMS message on my mobile:

Indian Bank – Weekend Info: Balance in your a/c XXXXXX0216 as on 09/02/2013: Total Bal. RS.14035 CR, Clear Bal
Message Centre:
Sent: 10-Feb-2013 11:09:53

Now like clockwork I have received the above SMS message for the third consecutive Sunday.

Indian Bank – Weekend Info: Balance in your a/c XXXXXX0216 as on 16/02/2013: Total Bal. RS.14035 CR, Clear Bal
Message Centre:
Sent: 17-Feb-2013 11:23:17

Indian Bank – Weekend Info: Balance in your a/c XXXXXX0216 as on 23/02/2013: Total Bal. RS.14035 CR, Clear Bal
Message Centre:
Sent: 24-Feb-2013 10:23:08

I do not have any type of account in any branches of the Indian Bank.

I purchased a brand new SIM card from Vodafone only on February 7, 2013.

The sender has piqued my curiosity and I wonder whether the letters ‘CR; in the phrase “Total Bal. RS.14035 CR” mean ‘Credit’ or ‘Crore’ (10 million).

Any comments?


February 25, 2013

Today (Monday) I received the following message:

Your A/c No XXXX30216 is not operated for last 2 years. Please visit our branch and do transaction. Please co-operate & get uninterrupted service – Indian Bank
Message Centre:
Sent: 25-Feb-2013 11:41:12

When I dialed the number 9820405560, the recorded message said: “You seem to have dialed the wrong number. Please check the number you have dialed,” followed by the text message “Number not in use.” So, I dialed 9821900043 the phone number found on the first message I received on February 9, 2013. This number too is a dud.

My sixth sense tells me this might be the early stages of blossoming of an elaborate scam.

February 28, 2013

Today I received a different message – ‘a security Alert’ purported to be from Indian Bank:

Security Alert: Don’t leave your Credit/Debit Card with anyone. Maintain secrecy of your User-Id & password; don’t disclose to anyone. Don’t click on links given in emails asking for above details.— Indian Bank
Message Centre:
Sent: 28-Feb-2013 11:29:59


March 3, 2013

Today too I received the recurring message:

Indian Bank – Weekend Info: Balance in your a/c XXXXXX0216 as on 02/03/2013: Total Bal. RS.14035 CR, Clear Bal
Message Centre:
Sent: 3-Mar-2013 06:53:05

Today too I dialed the number 9820405560 and heard a different recorded message: “Your call could not be completed.”

seldomblogger, a fellow blogger commented:

Wowyes it seems so..glad you found out..looks to be a phishing attempt or could be worse

I agree completely with her observation.

Any comments?


When a Rape is Not a Rape by Freny Manecksha

By Freny Manecksha

Posted on February 16, 2013 in The Times of India, Crest Edition

2004 - A dozen Manipuri women who had stripped in front of the headquarters of Assam Rifles

Though the Verma Commission recommended that armed forces personnel accused of rape be tried as per civilian law, the ordinance was silent on the issue. Is national security coming in the way of justice?

In 2004, an iconic image, depicted a dozen Manipuri women who had stripped in front of the headquarters of Assam Rifles, holding banners saying “Indian Army Rape Us. ” The protest occurred after the body of 34-year-old Thangjam Manorama was found near Imphal on July 11, 2004. Manorama had been picked up from her home by 17 Assam Rifles on suspicion of being a militant. Says Chitra Ahanthem, editor of Imphal Free Press, “It was the sight of the the body which bore appalling wounds – scratch marks, deep gashes on her thighs and gunshot wounds on the genitals – that sparked off outrage and this unusual protest among the Manipuri women. ”

More than eight years later, Manorama and women of Manipur are still denied justice. In 2011, the Manipur government’s probe and call for action was stalled after the army challenged the Guwahati high court decision in the Supreme Court through a special leave petition saying no sanction had been given to the Manipur government to carry out a probe. Manipur comes under the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) and Section 6 says the state government cannot prosecute law enforcement agencies without sanction from the home ministry.

Such cases have led the People’s Union for Democratic Rights (PUDR) to make suggestions to the Verma Commission to bring security troops under the criminal justice system. And though the commission in its report recommended that security persons accused of rape be tried under civilian law, the recent ordinance on sexual violence was silent on the issue.

PUDR observes in the suggestions to the Verma Commission how powers of search and seizure under AFSPA work as “permissions to enter households and harass and rape women with impunity.”

Another controversial case was the Kunan-Poshpora mass rapes of 1991 in Kashmir. Men were made to assemble in the fields at night while 23 women of the village, aged between 13 and 80, were raped allegedly by troops of the Fourth Rajputana Rifles on the night of February 23-24. No police investigations were carried out. A Press Council of India committee, headed by B G Verghese, claimed the complaints were fabricated. In October 2011, the State Human Rights Commission, acknowledging the sexual assaults, asked the state to start a fresh probe. But nothing has come of it.

The army, which resists all attempts to lift AFSPA, says it has its own justice delivery systems and there is a strong and vigilant court martial process. Legal activist Vrinda Grover observes, “While they do deliver some sentences, it is not commensurate with justice. There is no transparency since one has no access to court martial proceedings and no information is shared with the public or the victims. ” In several cases Right to Information applications are refused under exemptions.

One of the victims of Kunan-Poshpora, in her testimony to the Independent People’s Tribunal on Human Rights Violations in Kashmir, speaks of the challenge in filing FIRs because of fear of reprisal by the troops. She adds that although an FIR was lodged (RI/1387/83) at Trehgam police station on March 2, 1991, nothing came of it.

Another report “Alleged Perpetrators – Stories of Impunity in J&K” by International People’s Tribunal for Human Rights and Justice in Indian Administered Kashmir and Association of Parents of Disappeared Persons shows the lengthy and almost futile efforts of a particular case of torture and sexual assault in Sipan, Anantnag district.

In response to an RTI query the Jammu & Kashmir government in 2009 said sanction for prosecution had been sought from the defence ministry in 2006 but was still awaited. The ministry claimed the request had not been received. What is also significant is that it took 12 years for the J&K police to investigate and process the case for prosecution.

An even more alarming feature is that the culture of impunity has permeated to the police who do not come under AFSPA, some of whom are even awarded despite complaints of sexual violence against them. In Chhattisgarh, where there is militarisation but no AFSPA, police officer SRP Kalluri, who was awarded a gallantry medal this January, has been named by Ledhabai, the wife of a slain Maoist, as an accused for custodial rape and gangrape in a case filed in the Chhattisgarh High Court.

Last year there was outrage over adivasi school teacher Soni Sori’s letter to her lawyer stating that she was sexually assaulted and tortured by police officer Ankit Garg whilst in jail. Garg was given a gallantry award despite the complaints and Sori emerged as a global rallying figure for her vehement stand against atrocities perpetrated on adivasi women. Sori who has been jailed by Dantewada police on various counts won a crucial victory this week as she was acquitted for being a key accused in an incident of opening firing and burning Essar vehicles.

Commenting on this trend of rewarding tainted police officers Vrinda Grover says that by such rewards the state is assuring them that they will be safeguarded. It is telling women, she says, that their bodies are fodder for interests of national security.

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State Mandate: Allow Boys in Girls’ Locker Rooms



.Student discomfort is not a reason to deny access,‘ says education commish

Little gir lembarrassed hands cover eyes
Shame! Shame!

A new, official interpretation of state law released by Massachusetts Commissioner of Education Mitchell Chester requires schools to permit “transgender” boys to use girls’ locker rooms, bathrooms and changing facilities if the boys “assert” they’re really girls.

“Some students may feel uncomfortable with a transgender student using the same sex-segregated restroom, locker room or changing facility,” the official document admits, but then concludes, “this discomfort is not a reason to deny access to the transgender student.”

Kris Mineau, president of the Massachusetts Family Institute, however, says there’s something far more significant than “discomfort” at stake.

“The School Commissioner’s first duty is to protect all students, from kindergarten to grade 12, not endanger them,” Mineau said in a statement. “The overriding issue with this new policy is that opening girls’ bathrooms to boys is an invasion of privacy and a threat to all students’ safety.”

Furthermore, the policy document explains, neither doctor’s note nor hormone therapy nor even parental permission is needed for a student to switch sex: If a boy says he’s a girl, as far as the schools should be concerned, he’s a girl.

“The responsibility for determining a student’s gender identity rests with the student,” the statement reads. “A school should accept a student’s assertion of his or her gender identity when there is … ‘evidence that the gender-related identity is sincerely held as part of a person’s core identity.’”

The document further warns that referring to transgendered students by their birth name or sex, if it doesn’t match their current, preferred name or sex, “should not be tolerated and can be grounds for student discipline.”

The document creates policy related to a law that went into effect in July of last year called “An Act Relative to Gender Identity,” which in turn amended G.L. c. 76, §5 “to establish that no person shall be excluded from or discriminated against in admission to a public school of any town, or in obtaining the advantages, privileges and courses of study of such public school on account of gender identity.”

According to the 11-page policy paper, that means that boys who identify as girls should not only be addressed by the feminine pronoun and be listed as girls on official transcripts, but they should also be allowed access to girls’ facilities and be allowed to play on girls’ athletic and club teams. Likewise for girls who insist they’re boys.

Andrew Beckwith, attorney for Massachusetts Family Institute, however, warns that the document’s definition of transgender “is extremely broad.”

“If a male student tells his teacher he feels like a girl on the inside, the school has to treat him in every way as if he actually is a girl,” Beckwith explained, citing the policy paper. “School personnel may be forbidden from informing the parents of their child’s gender decisions, and students can even decide to be one gender at home and another at school.”

The Massachusetts Family Institute notes during the debate the law giving rise to this new policy had been dubbed the “Stealth Bathroom Bill,” even though opening public bathrooms to self-identified transgender people were specifically removed from the law out of legislators’ concerns for the safety, privacy and modesty of all its citizens.

In schools, however, the bathroom provisions will now effectively be put back in.

“Each situation needs to be reviewed and addressed based on the particular circumstances of the student and the school facilities,” the education policy states. “[Yet] in all cases, the principal should be clear with the student (and parent) that the student may access the restroom, locker room and changing facility that corresponds to the student’s gender identity.”

The policy also gives the following example: “In one middle school, a male-to-female transgender sixth-grader socially transitioned after spring break. For the rest of the school year, she used the nurse’s restroom and the other unisex restrooms at the school. Beginning in seventh grade, she used the girls’ restroom.”

Democratic State Rep. Colleen Garry has introduced amending legislation to the current law says she would prevent precisely these scenarios by ensuring that people use the restrooms and locker room facilities consistent with their anatomical sex.

“Like many of my colleagues, I am very concerned about Commissioner Chester’s directive to open public school bathrooms to all genders,” said Garry. “This was not the intent of the Legislature, and we need to pass legislation that clearly defines the use of such facilities.”

WND contacted Commissioner Chester’s office for comment, but received no reply. The Massachusetts Department of Elementary & Secondary Education can be contacted through its website.

WND has also reported previous attempts by state lawmakers in other states who have attempted to open up shower and bathroom facilities to cross-dressers and “transgendered” individuals.

In Maryland, for example, Montgomery County used the courts to squash a petition of 27,000 residents concerned about county legislation that granted men access to Womens’ restrooms, and vice versa, in the name of “gender identity” and “anti-discrimination.”

And in New York City, a lawsuit opened up the bathrooms in Grand Central Station after a man in woman’s clothing was arrested for using the ladies’ room.


Re-posted from WND Education

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News: Oscar Pistorius Granted Bail


Myself By T.V. Antony Raj


Pretoria, South Africa
Friday, February 22, 2013

Chief Magistrate Desmond Nair granted bail to Oscar Pistorius ahead of his trial for the alleged murder of his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp. The judge cited a number of problems with the police investigation into the death of the model. “I come to the conclusion that the accused has made a case to be released on bail,” he said.• He did not think Pistorius was a flight risk.

After the announcement, Pistorius remained quiet and reserved. Though his family hugged him quietly he did not seem to celebrate.

These are Judge Desmond Nair’s main reasons for granting bail:

• He did not think Pistorius was a flight risk.

•  He did not think the prosecution had shown that Pistorius had a propensity for violence.

• He did not think the prosecution had shown there would be public outrage if released on bail.

• He did not think the prosecution’s case was so strong that Pistorius’ only reasonable reaction were he released would be to flee.

Judge Nair said the former lead investigator in the case, Hilton Botha had made “several errors and concessions” during his testimony during the bail hearing. However, the judge also pointed out the holes in the story narrated by Pistorius: However, the judge also pointed out the holes in the story narrated by Pistorius:

• Why did Pistorius not find out Reeva’s whereabouts?

• Why did Pistorius not verify who was in the toilet?

• Why did Reeva not scream back from the toilet?

• Why did the deceased (Reeva) and the accused (Pistorius) not escape through the bedroom door but venture into the toilet?

• Why would the accused (Pistorius) venture into danger knowing the intruder was in the toilet, leaving himself open to attack? He (Pistorius) returned to the dangerous area. What if the intruder was waiting for him (Pistorius)?

The judge also said he had difficulty in understanding with the version provided by the defense of why the accused (Pistorius) slept on the other side of the bed from usual that night.

Judge Desmond Nair set the bail at 1m Rand (US$111,370; £73,000; €84330) and ordered to release the Olympian after posting bail by March 1, and 10% of it is due immediately. He ordered Pistorius not to go back to the Silver Woods estate, where the shooting took place; give up his passport; refrain from going near an airport; and report to a police station on Mondays and Fridays.


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