Editor in Chief: Moh. Reza Huwaida Thursday, September 21st, 2017

The Flagrant Violation of Children’s Rights

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The Flagrant Violation of Children’s Rights

Children remain vulnerable not only in Afghanistan but around the globe. Their rights are violated to a great extent. They have been exploited in industries, movies, public places and homes. Their physical inability has left them prone to social ills, moral turpitude and violence. Their life and liberty are not safeguarded and the voices regarding violence against children fall on deaf ears.
Violation of humanitarian law is a serious issue, mainly in war-torn countries where children are killed in cold blood. According to a report released by the UN, within the first four months of the current year, about 283 children were killed and 704 were wounded in Afghanistan, which is said to be the highest recorded number of child casualties. This is a 21 percent increase in child deaths compared to the same period in 2016. Subsequently, UNAMA has urged warring parties to priorities the protection of children as the 2017 fighting season continues by taking all necessary precautions to reduce harm to civilians during fighting.
Children’s recruitment by the Taliban is also a matter of great concern. It is said that the Taliban recruit the children mostly from the poor families and support them financially in return. Moreover, children easily succumb to the Taliban’s indoctrination and fall for their bogus claims since they have not reached mental maturity. They are brainwashed in dark basements of madrasahs and kept out of touch.
International humanitarian law, or the laws of war, prohibits the recruitment or use of children under 15 by parties to a conflict. “Conscripting or enlisting children under the age of fifteen years into armed forces or groups or using them to participate actively in hostilities” is a war crime under the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court (ICC), to which Afghanistan belongs. Those who commit, order, assist, or have command responsibility for war crimes are subject to prosecution by the ICC or national courts.
More than 13 million children are being denied an education due to conflicts in the Middle East, the UN has said earlier, warning “the hopes of a generation” would be dashed if they cannot return to classrooms. In a report on the impact of conflict on education in six countries and territories across the region, the UN’s children fund UNICEF said more than 8,850 schools were no longer usable due to violence.
To consider Syria, the war victims who take refuge, along with their children, to foreign countries to breathe in a climate void of violence and bloodshed and flee militants’ murderous acts and toxic ideology, succumb to death on a large scale. The children, especially the female teens, bear the brunt of war in Middle East. As a result, a considerable number of underage females fell victim to systematic rape perpetrated by IS group. Hence, it is not only the issue of education but they suffer manifold problems created by radical elements.
The NUG’s inability or unwillingness to respond to these challenges has profound implications for both its legitimacy and the future of the post-Taliban political order. In the Asia Foundation’s 2015 Survey of the Afghan People, citizens who believed the country was going in the right direction declined to 37 per cent from 55 percent in 2014. After insecurity, worsening economic conditions were cited as the main reason for such pessimism.
It is aptly said that “it never rains but it pours”. Afghanistan’s challenges also come in large packages and the NUG is wrestling with many crises. To tackle the issues, there are a lot to be done: First, the officials and political parties will have to cultivate trust among themselves – which will also be instrumental in bridging the gap between state and nation. Secondly, the setbacks in the government’s machinery which hamper the political reforms i.e. administrative corruptions, bribery, lack of law enforcement, etc. must be eradicated and corrupt figures are to be pursued and prosecuted. Thirdly, stronger strategy to counter insurgency is to be adopted to tackle terrorism and protect the life and liberty of the nation.
It is an undeniable fact that children’s rights are violated flagrantly both in national and international levels. Despite this fact, there is little done in this regard. Child casualties, pornography, labor and recruitment will outrage the conscience of mankind around the world. Children’s life is extremely cheap in war-torn countries. They are exploited mentally, physically and sexually. This challenging issue should be tackled both by states and international community. Governments must criminalize children’s exploitation and apply the state’s rule to end their sufferings. Moreover, the world should campaign against child exploitation and casualties. Exploiting children is highly outrageous and the rise in the graph of their casualty is horrible.

Hujjatullah Zia is the permanent writer of the Daily Outlook Afghanistan. He can be reached at zia_hujjat@yahoo.com

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