Editor in Chief: Moh. Reza Huwaida Friday, December 15th, 2017

Children Undergo Immeasurable Suffering

Children are the vulnerable layer of a society and suffer in one way or another around the world. They are susceptible to hardships, domestic violence, and militancy. Despite their physical weakness, children carry out backbreaking chores. Their sufferings are turned a blind eye and will be viewed only on Children’s Day.
A great number of children are forced to support their families financially rather than going to school. They are left with a burden of responsibility from their childhood. To get a morsel of bread, children struggle from dawn to dusk in hot summers and cold winters. In some war-torn countries, children are recruited by militants. They succumb to the demands of militants to alleviate their families’ financial pressures. They are most likely to be engaged in moral corruption simply for earning bread and butter for their mothers and siblings.
To view the issue from another lens, scores of children lose their lives in terrorist attacks around the world. They are not only recruited by militants but also targeted by them, mainly in war-torn countries including Afghanistan. According to the United Nations’ children’s agency, Syria’s conflict took a horrible toll on children last year, with the civil war blamed for killing at least 652 children – 255 of whom were either in or near a school.  Moreover, UNICEF recorded that more than 850 children were recruited to fight in the conflict.
Similarly, the graph of children’s casualties is also high in Afghanistan and they are killed in suicide bombings and terrorist attacks in public places, streets, etc. That is to say, the street vendors, mainly children, are not safe to terrorist attacks. In a suicide bombing, you will see children lied in blood with their plastics, which were on sale, in their hands. This is the story of some Afghan children.
If you walk in Kabul city, you will see countless of children who implore you to buy a piece of plastic or hand them a penny. Their shabby clothes and old slappers in cold weather bespeak of their profound misery. Children, who are supposed to go to school with piece of mind, wander on streets for a morsel of bread. They do not touch peace or tranquility and have no idea of comfortability. In short, a large number of Afghan children are the breadwinners of their families and have to endeavor from early mornings to late nights. Subsequently, they remain illiterate and will be engaged in physical labor for the whole of their life. 
“Millions of girls and boys like you are in danger, and we are letting them down. They are fleeing deadly conflicts. They are going hungry, or without the medicine they need. They are separated from their parents, or making long, dangerous journeys to safety. They are displaced and living in refugee camps far from home,” UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres is cited as saying. “All this is completely unacceptable. As a global community, we cannot continue failing all the children”. He added that every child has a right to a safe, healthy, peaceful childhood and to develop to their full potential.
There is no doubt that children have a set of rights, similar to many others, that must be respected. They are not supposed to carry out backbreaking labors. Getting education is one of the fundamental rights of children and should be observed by all families. Meanwhile, recruiting children in war and militancy is against national and international laws. Their poverty or lack of mental maturity for deciding the right and wrong must not be exploited. Currently, a number of children study in religious seminaries both in Afghanistan and Pakistan. They go to learn knowledge, but they are brainwashed by their radical teachers and sent to war. So, this is a gross violation of children’s rights.
Domestic violence is one of the issues prevailing in society. Some children are punished severely by their parents due to making a mistake, which is common of children. They are degraded within the families and their needs are ignored. These are violation of their rights which will result in horrible consequences. In short, punishing children or degrading them will be counterproductive.
The world will have to respect the rights of children. If children are simply forced to alleviate financial constraints through laboring, recruited by militants, killed in attacks, etc. their tragedy will never come to an end. So, the world must adopt a strategy to alleviate their sufferings.
Afghan Constitution forbids forced labor in article 49 as it says, “Forced labor on children shall not be allowed.” Constitutionally, Afghan government is supposed to adopt necessary measures to attain the physical and spiritual health of the family, especially of the children. However, it is believed that children are forgotten by the state and no palpable change has been taken in this regard.