Iran, UNICEF Sign Cooperation Deal

The Iranian Ministry of Culture and Islamic Guidance and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) office in Tehran have signed a cooperation agreement covering issues related to the youth and children, filmmaking and book reading. The cooperation agreement has been signed by Advisor to the Iranian Minister of Culture and Islamic Guidance and General Director of Ministerial Affairs, Mohammad Mahdi Ahmadi, and the UNICEF representative in Iran, Mandeep O’Brien. Ahmadi said the agreement entails mutual cooperation and partnership in improving the ethical representation of children in the mass media, as in the virtual space and among the media professionals. The agreement also includes plans to improve child dignity and self-esteem in the motion pictures and photography industries and promote book reading, he noted. The Iranian official also noted that the new cooperation agreement, signed as part of the second round of collaboration between Tehran and the UNICEF, would provide opportunities to help the teenagers and young people hone their filmmaking skills. In July, the Iranian Ministry of Cooperatives, Labour and Social Welfare launched a joint cooperation program with the UNICEF in preventing and treating the COVID-19 pandemic. Subscribe Facebook Twitter ReddIt Pinterest WhatsApp Viber VK Email Telegram Print LINE The IFP Editorial Staff is composed of dozens of skilled journalists, news-writers, and analysts whose works are edited and published by experienced editors specialized in Iran News. The editor of each IFP Service is responsible for the report published by the Iran Front Page (IFP) news website, and can be contacted through the ways mentioned in the "IFP Editorial Staff" section.

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Myanmar’s Rakhine War Produces Grim Child Casualty Toll

The intensifying war in Rakhine state between Myanmar government troops and rebel Arakan Army soldiers, often fought in populated civilian areas, is killing and maiming increasing numbers of children, international and domestic NGOs say. A recent rise in child casualties in northern Rakhine state comes as U.N. observers note an increased use of airstrikes and heavy artillery attacks on civilian communities by the Myanmar military in its 21-month-old conflict with the Arakan Army (AA), which says it fights for autonomy for ethnic Rakhine people who live in the coastal region. Forty-two children under the age of 18 have died and 135 have been injured since December 2018 by artillery shelling, gunshots, and landmine explosions, according to groups that advocate for children. They are among nearly 300 civilians killed, and more than 640 injured in northern Rakhine state and in Paletwa township of next-door Chin state, according to an RFA tally. In a conflict exacerbated by the coronavirus pandemic that has resurged in Rakhine, some 200,000 civilians have fled their homes to escape fighting and now live in official or makeshift displacement camps or in the homes of relatives, according to an estimate by the Rakhine Ethnics Congress, a local NGO. On Monday, as the U.N.’s human rights chief issued a report in Geneva warning that the army’s actions in Rakhine could constitute war crimes, two teenagers were seriously injured by mortar shells that fell onto their village amid what witnesses said was an exchange of artillery fire by a Myanmar Navy vessel in the Mayu River and AA soldiers on land. Residents of Rathedaung township’s U Gar village said Myanmar soldiers on the boat and troops in Rathedaung town fired artillery for more than an hour. AA spokesman Khine Thukha said his army’s troops did not engage in combat with Myanmar forces along the Mayu River that day, and accused two navy vessels of intentionally firing artillery at the civilian villages. A Myanmar military spokesman, however, said the troops were responding to 107-millimeter rockets and rocket-propelled grenades fired at the navy boat by the AAin a clash that lasted 30 minutes. “Regarding the civilians who got injured, you can’t say it for sure it was caused by the military’s artillery. You can’t assume the military is responsible whenever there are artillery blasts,” he said. A child injured by mortar shell explosions in western Myanmar's war-ravaged Rakhine state arrives at a hospital in Sittwe, Oct. 3, 2019. Credit: RFA Civilians ‘directly targeted’ The report on Myanmar presented Monday by Michelle Bachelet, the U.N. high commissioner for human rights, based on interviews with more than 80 victims and witnesses whose accounts were verified, said that it was frequently the case that villages were attacked by the army without any AA provocation or presence. “Tatmadaw tactics have shifted, with periodic reliance on airpower against the Arakan Army, but in some instances it appears that civilians may have been directly targeted,” the report said, using the Burmese name for the military, Myanmar’s most powerful institution. The report went on to say that there had been a significant increase in the number of airstrikes by fighter jets, helicopter and heavy artillery attacks, and ground battles in more densely populated civilian areas. “For the most part, however, it appears that the Arakan Army was not active or present in the areas where these attacks took place and no armed clashes were reported to have been ongoing at that time,” the report said. Hardly a week goes by without reports of new Rakhine child casualties in conflict-affected areas. On Sept. 11, a six-year-old boy was transferred from a regional hospital to Sittwe General Hospital’s emergency room after sustaining serious injuries from an artillery blast in Rathedaung’s Aung Si Kone village. Cho Cho, the boy’s mother, told RFA that the child was injured while the family was hiding in a bomb shelter under their house as a military boat patrolling the Mayu River approached their village and passed. They waited until the boat was far from the village and then left the bomb shelter though they were still under the house, she said. “At that time, we heard the blast,” Cho Cho said. “It shattered a ceramic pot, house fences, and a door. Artillery fragments from the blast came under the house [and] penetrated the child’s left shoulder to the bone.” Myanmar woman and children who fled armed conflict in Rathedaung township, northern Rakhine state, find temporary shelter in Rakhine's capital Sittwwe, July 1, 2020. Credit: RFA Bomb shelters On Sept. 8, four civilians, including two five-year-olds, were killed, and a child was among several others injured by artillery blasts in Nyaung Khat Kan village in Rakhine’s Myebon township, drawing condemnation from UNICEF. “Children should never be targeted during armed conflicts,” said UNICEF in a statement issued the following day. “They are being killed in crossfire between parties to the conflict or even deliberately shot. They are being killed and maimed by landmines and explosive remnants of war in different parts of the country,” the U.N. agency said, referring to other conflicts in Myanmar, a multiethnic country of 54 million people. Adults have become inured to exchanges of artillery fire between AA troops and military vessels patrolling the rivers of Rakhine state. Everyone hides in bomb shelters as a precaution whenever Myanmar navy vessels are on the river, villagers said. Life during conflict is stressful for children, experts said. “Children in Rakhine state are insecure, both physically and mentally,” said Oo Khin Thein from Sittwe-based Arakan Youth New Generation Network, referring to minors in “dire conditions” in both internally displaced persons (IDP) camps and in towns and villages. “I found children in towns and villages in conflict areas who were physically injured by the armed conflict,” she said. “They are also emotionally impacted by trauma and fear of getting injured in artillery blasts. We see more and more children living in fear. ” Intensifying hostilities mean that nowhere in northern Rakhine is safe for anyone, said Oo Tun Win, a lawmaker from Kyauktaw township “Many people have been killed by artillery blasts while they are at home,” he told RFA. “They also have been killed by stray bullets as they fled from the blasts. People have been killed in their sleep. So, Rakhine society as a whole is not safe anywhere, not to mention the safety of the children.” Myanmar children who fled fighting between government troops and ethnic rebels in northern Rakhine state find temporary shelter at the Mittaparami Buddhist Monastery in Rakhine's capital Sittwe, April 11, 2020. Credit: RFA ‘Senseless’ shelling of a school Myanmar forces also have detained a few minors on suspicion of having connections to the AA and charged them under the country’s Counter-Terrorism Law, said Myo Myat Hein, the director of the Thazin Legal Aid Group in Sittwe. “In these cases, the accused children have not been given their rights under the Child Rights Law, [which] guarantees detainees immediate access to legal representations though this is often not the case,” he said. “In many cases, the lawyers meet the detained children only when they are brought to trial.” Those held in custody are sometimes subject to torture by authorities or disappear after their detentions, their family members have reported, according to Myo Myat Hein, who is also known as Nyein Chan. The annual report by the U.N.’s human right chief noted that schools, religious sites, and civilian homes in Rakhine have been targeted in attacks and damaged by heavy artillery and by Myanmar military patrols. In February, at least 17 schoolchildren ranging in age from five to 12 were wounded when a mortar shell hit their primary school in Khamwe Chaung village in Buthidaung township, the report said. The following month, soldiers set houses and a school ablaze and destroyed a local monastery with a rocket-propelled grenade in Minbya township’s Pha Bro village, it noted. Save the Children called the injuries “senseless” and pointed out that they occurred on the same day that the U.N. expressed concern over the continuing humanitarian impact of conflict in western Myanmar and urged parties to respect international humanitarian law and to protect civilians. “Many children are among these victims, and the actual number of casualties is likely to be higher due to limited monitoring and reporting in the conflict-affected areas,” the statement by Save the Children said. UNICEF said the children of Rakhine face long-term repercussions because “their education is being hampered by attacks against schools and the use of schools by parties to the conflict.” Myanmar has ratified the U.N. Convention on the Rights of the Child, which states that “governments must do everything they can to protect and care for children affected by war and armed conflicts.” In 2019, the country also ratified the Optional Protocol on Children and Armed Conflict, whereby states agree to protect children from military recruitment and use in hostilities. Reported by RFA’s Myanmar Service. Translated by Ye Kaung Myint Maung. Written in English by Roseanne Gerin.

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Twitter Flags Biden Pics for Child Exploitation

Please respect our republishing guidelines - Click Here Here’s a story that the corporate press would rather you didn’t hear. Social media company Twitter has flagged videos of Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden acting inappropriately with young girls. While gleefully reporting on every instance in which social media companies take action against President Donald Trump, it remains oddly silent on this particular development. Twitter Flags Biden Videos RT reported that C-Span footage showing Biden touching young girls was flagged as “child sexual exploitation” by Twitter. This flag was discovered during an online argument about the former vice president. I tried to respond with a video of evidence on how Biden interacts with women and little girls but Twitter flagged me for trying to post images of child molestation hahahahahahhaha. Guess twitter agrees with @jvgraz pic.twitter.com/tOIUMrcyAs — Joe Bidens Televised Shart (@koenigjake) September 12, 2020 During the conversation, Johnny Graz, a progressive activist, argued that Biden should be investigated for sexual assault. To bolster Graz’s argument, another Twitter user attempted to post a video compilation of Biden inappropriately touching young girls during photo ops. So that user, named Jake Koenig, posted a screenshot displaying Twitter’s message informing him that the post was flagged for “trying to post images of child molestation.” He wrote: “I tried to respond with a video of evidence on how Biden interacts with women and little girls but Twitter flagged me for trying to post images of child molestation hahahahahahhaha. Guess twitter agrees with @jvgrazpic.” Twitter not only marked the footage as child sexual exploitation but also banned the user’s account until he deleted the post. The video shows Biden touching lawmakers’ daughters and granddaughters. In parts of the footage, he can be seen leaning in close and whispering in their ears. Biden has been the subject of speculation over his behavior with young girls for years. There are even more videos showing him engaging in this type of behavior, sniffing the hair of young and adult females and placing his hands on their shoulders. Some women have levied more severe accusations against Biden, claiming he engaged in improper behavior with them. In March, Tara Reade, who served as one of his staffers when he was a senator, publicly accused him of sexually assaulting her in 1993. Not Worth Coverage? It appears that the corporate media have decided to give Biden the Obama treatment with this story. If the proverbial shoe were on the other foot, and Twitter had flagged a video featuring Trump in the same manner, there is no doubt that it would be splashed across every left-leaning news site. In fact, the Fourth Estate has exhibited a remarkable lack of curiosity regarding these types of allegations against Biden, despite its supposed support of the #MeToo movement. But this story only confirms what most already know: The press is intent on getting Biden into the Oval Office, even if it means sacrificing journalistic principles. Read more from Jeff Charles.

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