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Child Soldier

By Addie Darling

According to reports from a senior U.N. official this Wednesday, extremists looking to impose a radical interpretation of Islamic law in northern Mali are abusing human rights, enacting violence against women and paying families to give their children over to rebel armies. This escalation in human rights abuses continues the trend of civil unrest and chaos following the March coup d’état against the democratically elected government, that until the coup respected religious freedom, and reasonable protection-particularly for youth- against human trafficking.

Interviews with human rights officials, Mali citizens, and children reveal that forces across northern Mali have bought as many as 1,000 children from destitute and rural areas racked by hunger and poverty. Abuses against women have also escalated and continued, as they are forced from the public square in more extreme manners, sold as wives, and trafficked as prostitutes.

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