'Violent upbringing, feeling of hopelessness leave kids vulnerable to terrorism'

The way children are pulled into terrorism shows that they usually live with a feeling of having no hope at all including observing the existing presence of violence happening in their daily lives, according to a new report.

Ombudsman for Children in Sweden, a state agency that represents children and their rights on the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, was told by the Swedish government to take charge in communicating with the kids who have witnessed or experienced any kind of violent activity of terrorism.

Having hope for the future, zero experience with identity and violent past are the key elements as a result to their weakness.

“One factor we’ve highlighted that’s particularly important is these kids live with violence in their environment: they live with shootings, stone-throwing, drug trade, gang crime. They live with that in their everyday lives,” Sweden’s deputy Ombudsman for Children Anna Karin Hildingson Boqvist said.

“There are other contributing factors. A feeling of alienation, being excluded, that they’re vulnerable, and a lack of hope for their future. That they don’t believe they can do well in school or have a family. Racism is also a factor, and difficult family relationships.”

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One child believes that majority of the kids have no friends, prefer to sit at home and then “go online and look at videos, propaganda videos and so on”.

“They’re shown happy images from Syria, Iraq etc and think ‘I have no friends here in Sweden, but there I’ll have everything’. Of course you travel down, because here in Sweden you have nothing.”

The report clearly represents the connection between socioeconomic problems and disclosure of terrorism, since children spoken are mostly from places known as “vulnerable” or “especially vulnerable” by Swedish police.

There are some Swedish studies focused on the view-point of the children affected, according to the Ombudsman for Children.

“Knowledge about this is relatively new, but the risk factors aren’t new. The risk factors can lead to different things, this one, violent terrorism, is one very specific thing. But it could also lead other outcomes, like crime for example,” Hildingson Boqvist explained.

The report emphasis on helping and protecting the children from such violence, as preserved in the UN Convention of the Child.

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“We definitely need to do more. The first thing we need to do is place some focus on how vulnerable they are to violence. We speak a lot about violence against children in different forms – violence in the family for example, violence at school, but the obligation to protect children from violence is something enshrined in the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, and we need to see the violence these children live with as part of that, which right now we don’t sufficiently do,” Hildingson Boqvist said.

“On top of that, society needs to do a number of things. Which is why we’ve proposed a national plan of action to tackle violence against children. We also highlight the adults around these children, who have to help kids to be aware of their rights – freedom of expression, opinion, thought. That’s something the kids themselves ask about: adults have to make the effort to speak about these things.”

Even with creating a national plan of action, Ombudsman for Children suggest the Swedish authorities to involve more children and youth in work against violence, schools should communicate witih kids more about this topic and the Swedes constantly report any issues they feel the children might face in violent terrorism to the social services.

This article originally appeared on The Local.

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    Original news : https://tribune.com.pk/story/1612244/3-violent-upbringing-feeling-hopelessness-leave-kids-vulnerable-terrorism/