Genocide Investigator Killed

I am sure that all of you are aware of Thursday’s Flight 3407 crash outside Buffalo, NY, which killed 50 people.

However, you may be unaware that the crash took the life of an individual who spent a large portion of her existence defending human rights for those unable or afraid to speak up.

Doctor Alison Des Forges was the senior adviser of the NY-based Human Rights Watch’s Africa Division. Des Forges spent four years in Rwanda documenting the 1994 atrocities and testifying before UN and congressional panels. She was also an expert on the Democratic Republic of Congo.

According to Human Rights Watch’s executive director –

She was truly wonderful, the epitome of the human rights activist – principled, dispassionate, committed to the truth and to using that truth to protect ordinary people.

Let us honor Alison Des Forges by continuing to voice our opposition against genocide.

US Stands Against Child Soldier Use

darfurLast week, US Congress unanimously passed a law which reduces aid to countries with governments who use child soldiers.
The legislation could impact six countries currently receiving military aid from the US –Afghanistan, Chad, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Uganda, Sri Lanka, and Sudan. In 2008 alone, these six countries received $3.5 million in US military training, $800,000 in US military financing, and $6 billion in US military sales.

Child rights advocate Jo Becker of Human Rights Watch had this to say –

US weapons should not end up in the hands of children nor should US taxpayer dollars finance the exploitation of children in armed conflict.

According to the 2008 Child Soldiers Global Report recently published by the Coalition to Stop the Use of Child Soldiers, at year-end 2007, children were involved in 17 armed conflicts around the world.