Toys of Destruction

Children have rights too–or at least they should have–but they suffer more and different abuses than adults in many ways. A boy in Gbadolite was killed recently when an object he was using as a hammer blew up in his face. It was a landmine, one of thousands abandoned in the Democratic Republic of Congo during the last ten years of war and rebellion.

Incidents like these are one of the long-term effects of war on children, a major theme in Heart of Diamonds.

The UN Refugee Agency in the DRC reports that 892 people have been killed and 1,118 injured by mines and UXO’s (unexploded ordnance) strewn across the countryside since 2001. Many of them were children, killed because they don’t know the difference between explosives and toys. Philippe Sondizi Dombale, head of Humanitas Ugbangi, an NGO in Molegbe, northern DRC, told the UN’s IRIN that five children died in Dongo when a grenade exploded as they were playing with it.

The DRC ratified the global anti-personnel mine ban treaty in 2002, but government armed forces are only one of many combatants across the country. The government also lacks resources to conduct the large-scale de-mining campaigns necessary to remove the menace. According to Mine Advisory Group (MAG) country director Marc Angibeaud, de-mining efforts through international NGOs such as MAG, Handicap International and DanChurchAid, have cleared the countryside of thousands of anti-personnel mines and UXO, especially in Equateur, Maniema, Katanga and South Kivu provinces, but they have only scratched the surface.

Even if all arms in Congo were laid down today, children will be maimed and killed by unexploded mines for many years to come.

For more thoughts on the state of human rights in the Democratic Republic of Congo and elsewhere, read all my contributions to “Bloggers Unite for Human Rights

Rape – A Weapon Of Terror
Human Rights Criminal On The Loose
Human Rights – Major Theme In Heart of Diamonds
Children of the Congo – Soldiers Still
A Century of Horror – Red Room
God Is Love
Eager To Learn
Is America A Human Rights Weakling?

To see what it’s all about, read the Universal Declaration of Human Rights then, to do your part, see these sixteen ways to make a difference

Dave Donelson, author of Heart of Diamonds, a novel of the Congo

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3 Responses to Toys of Destruction

  1. […] Rights! I’ve never seen your child’s face ~ Bloggers Unite Bloggers Unite 2008 – Blogging for Hope Toys of Destruction Bloggers Unite For Human Rights – The Right to Eat Idag ska det handla om mänskliga rättigheter […]

  2. Mavis says:

    Good to see another Bloggers Unite with a focus on children. Thanks for visiting my blog

  3. I must say I was saddened by these “toys of destruction”. How I wish explosives expire!

    Anyway, I am honored you read my post “The Special Child’s Rights”. I just posted a sequel of my special child’s story titled “Pearl Farm in Davao and Mission Impossible”.

    I’m adding your travel blog to my “Blog Gallery”, and also your “Photogafrica” ’cause I’m a photography hobbyist myself but have phobias hindering me to shoot beautiful spots.

    More power to you!

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