Editor in Chief: Moh. Reza Huwaida Thursday, June 21st, 2018

“Innocent Children Victims of Aggression”

Today, i.e. June 4 is celebrated as International Day of Innocent Children Victims of Aggression. The purpose of the day is to highlight the sufferings of the children throughout the world; particularly, those who are the victims of any sort of physical mental and emotional abuse. Its ambitions are guided by the Convention on the Rights of the Child.
The day has its roots in the event on August 19, 1982, when United Nations General Assembly, at its emergency session on the question of Palestine, appalled at the great number of innocent Palestinians and Lebanese children victims of Israel’s acts of aggression, and decided to commemorate June 4 of each year as the International Day of Innocent Children Victims of Aggression.
Aggression and violence have influenced children throughout the world; particularly, in those parts of the world that suffer from instability and terrorism. The case of Afghanistan in this regard is one of the most prominent ones. Aggression and violence have influenced children in various ways in the country for the last few decades now. A recent report by the United Nations Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF) – Global Initiative on Out-of-School Children – revealed that about 3.7 million Afghan children are out of school due to the on-going conflict, grinding poverty and discrimination against girls. The report further reveals that almost half of Afghan children aged between seven and 17 were not going to school. For the first time since 2002, the out-of-school rate has gone up, while girls make up 60 percent of those being denied an education, putting them at a particular disadvantage; and up to 85 per cent of girls are not going to school in Kandahar, Helmand, Wardak, Paktika, Zabul and Uruzgan. The report further revealed that displacement, child marriage, a lack of female teachers, poor school facilities, poverty and insecurity were the main factors behind children, especially girls, not going to school.
The facts highlighted by the report point at a threatening situation. Children are the builders of a nation; and educated, healthy and motivated children guarantee a prosperous future. Therefore, it is advisable to protect the children from all sorts of evils and promise them better living standards. However, because of persistent insecurity and various other problems, there are many ways in which children are influenced, but one of the most direct ways is that they are directly dragged or pushed in the war. There have been various cases, in Afghanistan, when children have been recruited by the insurgents and they have been made to fight the wars in different parts of the country.
There have been many incidents of suicide attacks in different parts of the country, wherein the attacker were below 16 years of age. Apart from that the children are also welcomed by the militant groups with the intention to have a cadre that they can train in accordance to their own will, within their training camps. There have been certain cases, as well, when security forces have used children for the war; however, such incidents are very scarce.
Recruitment of the children both by Taliban militants result in violence against children and their abuse. The attitude of a trained militant clearly depicts the fact that the training sessions in their training camps do involve severe kind of violence and maltreatment.
Another type of violence includes the killing and maiming of the children because of the conflict-related violence. This also includes accidental killings or injuries by the national and international security forces, which, though relatively are much lower than the ones committed by the terrorists. Unfortunately, most of the deaths or injuries in this regard have been the result of the violent attacks of the terrorists on schools and hospitals. Such attacks do not only take precious lives but tend to inflict fear among parents and children regarding attending schools.
The girls in this regard suffer even to more extreme levels. Moreover, the children who do not get a chance to be admitted in school are then sent out for labor so that they can prove to be a helping hand for their parents and, in the process, they are left at the mercy of the social evils.
Child labors are exposed to crimes and maltreatment to a risky extent, especially the ones who are employed by shop-owners, mechanics and small firms. They are even put to violent treatment by their employers on pity matters. Further, another concerning factor regarding the plight of the children in Afghanistan is the growing number of child beggars.
Families, stricken with intense poverty, do not hesitate even to send their children for begging. Apart from that, there are professional beggars who utilize the helpless children for the begging purposes.
The security of the children against all sort of violence, their proper nourishment and their character development are the most important considerations to contemplate on, if the government is really serious to safeguard the rights of the children. The same children are going to be the builders of future; their proper care should be ascertained through every possible means. Apart from the government the members of the society can also play a tremendous role in diminishing violence against the children and uplifting their morale.