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Sep-26-2010 18:09printcomments

Africa: Faces in Words

New weekly update on the breaking stories in the African nations.

Newsweek image from Darfur
Newsweek image from Darfur

(PORTLAND, Ore.) - Unseen, unheard; no one should be the bearer of these two words. Unfortunately, Africa is often in the forefront of this association.

Our common humanity should change this; we should never look away because it is too distant. Our commitment to one another, to human rights, and the ability to learn should always keep us connected no matter the severity and complexity of problems.

Important insights from last week, not to be missed

The Executive Director of Women’s Action for Development (WAD), Veronica de Klerk, has condemned gender-based violence and called on women to refrain from withdrawing cases against perpetrators of violence against them. Condemnation of of Gender-Based Violence

Escalation of rape against displaced women in Kassab Camp, Darfur - The refugees in Kassab camp complained about the escalation of rape around the camp, especially after Eid Al Fitr, the holiday marking the end of the fasting month of Ramadan. According to sources in the camp, a large number of women have been raped including even a woman in her seventies. Displaced women living in the camp are in a state of panic and fear because of these incidents. A woman in the camp spoke about the issue on Radio Dabanga’s broadcast on Saturday. Rape of Displaced Women in Kassab Camp

Teens on frontline in war on terror - Abdullah cannot be much more than 16-years old, but he is charged with fighting an al-Qaeda-linked group. Leaning over a gun position on top of a crumbling house on the outskirts of Mogadishu, Somalia's battered capital, he is almost completely surrounded by insurgent positions, save one road which leads to a well-armed peacekeepers' base. Teens Frontline Role in War on Terror

Reducing the Risk in Slums - The disproportionately high risk of disaster faced by a billion slum-dwellers across the world could be significantly reduced with prudent investment, states a new report. Reducing the Risk Factor in Slums

Gay Rights – the Ninth MDG? - It may have been the first time an African couple was arrested because they held an engagement party. In a part of the world where engagement and marriage are momentous occasions and a cornerstone of adulthood, the union of two men in Malawi last December, however, created an uproar that made headlines around the world. Gay Rights – the Ninth MDG?

Ivory Coast Starts Paying Former Rebels for Peace - Ivory Coast began paying former rebel soldiers on Wednesday who disarmed ahead of elections set for next month, bringing the West African nation a step closer to ending years of crisis. Ivory Coast Pays for Peace

Isn’t it Time Africans stood up Against Child Marriage? - Lawmakers, activists and world leaders are meeting in New York this week to discuss ways to accelerate the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) in time to meet the 2015 targets. They will surely note the many gaps in programming and legislation around MDG work, especially in Africa. Africans Standing Up Against Child Marriage

US commits $10 Million to Combat Child Labor in Cocoa Fields - The US government plans to commit $10 million to combat the worst forms of child labor in the cocoa-growing countries of Ivory Coast and Ghana where half of the world's cocoa is produced. $10 Million Committment to Combat Child Labor in Cocoa Fields

Child soldiers on the rise in Somalia – Video Somalia's Child Soldiers

Alysha Atma spends many hours working on projects that support and benefit the beleaguered people of African nations who spend way too much time off the western media's radar. This writer explains that she is a culmination of all her experiences, most importantly knowledge she says, and all that she still needs to learn; lessons of love, laughter and the extraordinary giving of both young and old. She says she has the enormous fortune of learning from the best; every person around her, and the amazing strength and fortitude of those she has never met but will always strive to listen to. "I continue to work and write because I believe in the power of community and the power of one, both contradictory to each other and yet can move together in a very powerful way. I feel a responsibility to use my place, freedoms and connections here in the US to stand up and yell for those who need my voice and actions. I have seen such strength in my fellow humans that I cannot even begin to comprehend, they have traveled distances, have gone without food, water, shelter and safety for days and weeks at a time. I have a responsibility as a fellow human to put our common humanity before anything else. Everyone deserves to look towards tomorrow, to dream of a safe future and to have a peaceful present." You can write to Alysha Atma at:

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Sean Flynn was a photojournalist in Vietnam, taken captive in 1970 in Cambodia and never seen again.

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