Editor in Chief: Moh. Reza Huwaida Friday, October 19th, 2018

The Plight of Afghan Children

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The Plight of Afghan Children

The prevailing instability in Afghanistan is influencing all the sections of the society to a large extent, but the weaker sections of the society; espe cially, children are the ones who fall easy preys in such situation. With the increase in the violent incidents in the current year the number of violent incidents targetting children has increased, as well. These incidents have not only been carried out by Taliban or terrorists rather so many times the children have been the victims of operations carried out by national and international forces. Apart from that, there are certain other issues of violence against children that are carried out by the society as a whole and for that the habitual inconsideration and sick mentality of the common men are responsible.

Children are basically the future of a nation. Healthy, educated and optimistic children guarantee a better and prosperous future for a nation. Therefore, their nourishment and security must be the top priority of a society. Unfortunately, our country has not been able to guarantee a secure and reputable position for the children of the society. Many children, because of improper birth or becuase of lack of health facilities and insuffucientnuitrition either die in the very beginning of their lives or able to drag on their lives with certain physical deformities and serious diseases. Most of the children of the society are not able to have access to education, either because of the financial problems or the traditional hatred of the parents for modern schooling system. The girls in this regard suffer even to more extremem 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 beggers. Families, striken with intense poverty, do not hesitate even to send their children for begging. Apart from that, there are professional beggers who utilize the helpless children for the begging purposes. The children are even abducted for the same purpose.

According to United Nations' second country (Afghanistan) report regarding the violence against children, the phenomenon is considered to be multifaceted. It involves recruitment of children by armed forces and armed groups. The involvement of armed forces in this regard is really embarrassing. UN Country Task Force for Monitoring and Reporting has verified 26 out of 47 reported incidents that prove that children were recruited by militant groups and security forces in the years 2009 and 2010. The recruitment that is carried out by militant groups is mostly for the purpose of carrying out suicide attacks through them, who because of their immaturity or because of the intense pressure do not understand the incentive of their actions. 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 – mostly madressahs. The attitude of a trained militant clearly depicts the fact that the training sessions in those camps do involve severe kind of violence and maltreatment.

This particular trend carried out by the militants comes as a result of the inhuman attitude of those groups and their negligence of national and international law, but the recruitment of the children by security forces including Afghan National Police, who are said to be the guardian of law and order and who also claim to adhere by the international law, is really confusing. One of the biggest reasons for this particular trend has been the urgency of Afghan security forces to complete the required quantity, irrespective of quality. Another disturbing number represented by the report is of the children who are detained on the charges of endangering national security. 328 children in 2009 and 2010 have been detained by Afghans security forces and ISAF on the charges of having connections with the militant groups. The report shows great concern regarding the treatment of these chidren.

The second type of the violence includes the killing and maiming of the children because of the conflict-related violence. The number for the reported years (2009 and 2010) is believed to be 1,795, including both those who are killed and injured. 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. Reports reveal that in 2009, 610 incidents were reported that were carried out by terrorists on schools and hospitals, while between January and August of 2010, 285 such incidents were reported to the country task force.

The third type of violence, according to the report is the sexual violence against children. This violence is committed both against boys and girls. But it is unfortunate to note that there is not any comprehensive law in the constitution that can be realized into practical measures to curb the situation and many children keep on becoming the victims of this sort of violence even by the so called decent people of the society.The other types of violence include abduction and deniel of humanitarian access. The report shows 77 cases of abduction, for varying 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 governement 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.

Dilawar Sherzai is the permanent writer of the Daily outlook Afghanistan. He can be reached at outlookafghanistan@gmail.com

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