Children in Afghanistan remain highly vulnerable to grave violations: UN

New York: The UN Secretary-General’s special representative on Children and Armed Conflict in Afghanistan in a new report said that children in the country remain highly vulnerable to grave violations, TOLO News reported.

The report, which was released on December 22, 2023, said that children’s access to basic services was “disrupted due to protracted conflict, displacement, extreme poverty and food insecurity, lack of livelihood opportunities and lack of investment in public services, and natural disasters, increasing their vulnerability to grave violations such as recruitment and use, sexual violence, school drop-out, and unsafe migration, including forced return from Pakistan.”

The report said: “The indefinite suspension of girls’ secondary and tertiary education affected girls’ rights to education and exposed them to heightened risks and harmful coping mechanisms.”

TOLO News profiled 16-year-old Mahboobullah, who is working at a shop in Kabul to support his family of six people. Mahboobullah complained of facing dire economic challenges and urged the Taliban to help him. “We should study to reach a position and become something in the future. There are a lot of children who are working as shoe polishers or in other fields,” he said, as per TOLO News.

The report also said that overall, 4,519 grave violations against 3,545 children aged from a few months to 17 years were verified between January 1, 2021, and December 31, 2022, with most of them attributed to the Taliban. But Taliban spokesperson Zabihullah Mujahid said that they are supporting the children and that there are no teenagers among the Taliban’s fighters.

“We have had this rule previously that those who are teenagers are not allowed to work. After the Islamic Emirate came to power in Afghanistan, all of the security departments have professional appointments, and there are no teenagers among them,” he said, as per TOLO News.

In another study by the EU Civil Protection & Humanitarian Aid, one in three Afghans do not know where their next meal will come from.

Image courtesy of X@eu_echo

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