Editor in Chief: Moh. Reza Huwaida Wednesday, April 26th, 2017

Juvenile Delinquents must be Treated Appropriately

Youngsters within a society are the backbone of the society. Their strength, potential and their positive energies can benefit the society to a great extent. The whole future and destiny of a nation depends on them. Their optimistic attitude towards the prevailing socio-political conditions and their motivation to play a distinctive and impacting role can uplift the morale of the society and provides it the stamina to stand against the social and political problems. On the other hand, if they are pessimistic and have negative outlook towards the society and social issues, they are bound to invite troubles and difficulties. Their non-conformity towards social norms, values and law and order may result in delinquency and may make them fall in the quagmire of crimes for their whole lives. In such cases, they may not only destroy their own lives but the life of the society as a whole.
It is important for a society to treat the children and youngster in a proper way. It is mostly the social conditions that decide the social roles and responsibilities of the youngsters. If a society is a well-developed society, it would definitely provide better opportunities for the youngsters to become positive part of the society but if it is underdeveloped and has many social problems, it is bound to influence the youngsters in a negative manner as the opportunities for the youngster to play a constructive role would be limited and they would be pushed towards miseries and crimes.
It is because of lack of attention and proper opportunities that juvenile delinquency is a major problem in our country Afghanistan. The socio-political and socio-economic scenario in the country have been very much vulnerable for the youth. The opportunities for getting education, particularly higher education are limited and the employment opportunities are scarce. Poverty, on the other hand, has incapacitated the youngsters to pursue education and careers of their choice. Most of them do not have clear idea about their roles and responsibilities and neither are they sure of their future. Therefore, most of them saunter aimlessly in society instead of becoming a part of a larger whole. 
The circumstances are further deteriorated by the continued wave of insecurity and terrorism. Though there have been certain improvements made since the installation of so-called democratic government, juvenile delinquency keeps on hampering in the process of improvement.
Apart from the traditional crimes like mugging, rape, robbery and murder, youth in the country are dominantly caught in the web of terrorism. There are many fresh recruits in different terrorist groups who serve as potential cadre for such evil organizations and presently they have been serving as the man power for suicide bombings. In many of the cases of suicide bombings that have taken place in different parts of the country, the bombers have been youngsters. Moreover, there have been many youngsters involved in the smuggling and production of drugs in the country that has been a dominant evil for us.
To add fuel to the fire, there is scarcity of special courts or special juvenile training and rehabilitation centers where delinquents can be treated, trained or guided. If they are caught in their crimes they are put in the same prisons as adults and treated in the same manner as adults. Therefore, this does not only violate their rights but also diminishes their chances of improving themselves.
Highlighting a similar issue, the Independent Human Rights Commission on Saturday, November 5, said that more than 150 children and teenagers are imprisoned in Bagram prison on charges of anti-national and foreign security crimes. Abdullah Abid, child rights protection officer of the commission said that the children and teenagers should be freed and should be sent to juvenile training centers. He also said in his statement, "Children's special courts, which are required by law, are in six provinces but the children's cases are assessed by other courts and this is a violation of children's rights." Meanwhile, Ministry of Justice said they have no plans to transfer the prisoners from Bagram to juvenile training centers in Kabul because they are kept separate from adult prisoners in Bagram.
It is important to note that juvenile training centers should be based on modern guidance and training techniques. Only keeping the youngster separate from the adults does not solve the issue; therefore, the issue should be dealt in a more logical and scientific manner. 
The unchecked juvenile delinquency in the country really points at serious concerns for the future of the country. Necessary measures must be introduced by the government in this regard to curb the situation appropriately and as per the scientific approach towards the solution. Separate confinements and severe punishments alone cannot guarantee a crimeless society and in the case of juvenile delinquency the matter gets even more complicated. Special considerations, special laws and special treatment must be in place to deal with the cases of juvenile delinquency otherwise the circumstances may get worse rather than getting any better.