Editor in Chief: Moh. Reza Huwaida Monday, January 21st, 2019

Universal Children’s Day

Yesterday, November 20, was celebrated as Universal Children’s Day around the world. The basic objective of the day is to advocate, promote and celebrate children’s rights and encourage dialogues and actions that will build a better world for children. The day is celebrated on November 20 because it was on the same day in 1959 when the UN General Assembly adopted the Declaration of the Rights of the Child. It was also on the same day in 1989, when the UN General Assembly adopted the Convention on the Rights of the Child.
This year the theme of the day was “It’s a #KidsTakeOver” and United Nations International Children Emergency Fund (UNICEF) invited children from around the world taking over key roles in media, politics, business, sport and entertainment to voice their support for millions of their peers who are unschooled, unprotected and uprooted on 20th November.
The day was also celebrated in Afghanistan. Several media organizations gave children the opportunity to take over segments of their programming. RTA, TV24, Shamshad, TOLO, BBC and Radio Free Europe as well as Pajhwok news agency and the Killid media group all participated in the celebration. UNICEF, in its statement declared: “Here in Afghanistan, it is very important to give children a voice because they are a very big part of this country’s young society. However, girls and boys in Afghanistan are largely invisible as citizens and we need to give them the chance to speak up. Today is a day for children to ‘take over’ and speak with their own voices. And we must listen.” It is really vital that the voices of the children should be heard, their issues should be understood and, most importantly, there must be efforts to solve the issues that they face.
The prevailing instability in Afghanistan is influencing all the sections of the society to a large extent, but the weaker sections of the society; especially, children are the ones who fall easy preys in such situation. The violent incidents have not only been carried out by the terrorists, rather 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.
Many children, because of improper birth or because of lack of health facilities and insufficient nutrition 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 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 children are even abducted for the same purpose. The phenomenon of violence against children is multifaceted. It involves recruitment of children by the terrorist groups.
The recruitment that is carried out by militant groups is mostly for carrying out suicide attacks through them, who because of their immaturity or because of the intense pressure do not understand the incentive nature of their actions.
There have been many incidents of suicide attacks in various 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.
Recruitment of the children by the terrorists will 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.
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 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.