PAN (Translated by RAWA), November 20, 2008
Hundreds of Afghan Children Engage in Severe Labor in Torkham Border
"...children in Torkham are beaten by different people, smugglers make them do illegal works and if they are left in Torkham at night there is a possibility that they be raped"
In the common border of Torkham between Pakistan and Afghanistan about 4000 children engage in harsh work everyday. Besides being beaten by the border patrols of Pakistan they are also imprisoned.
Radhika Coomaraswamy, the UN's special representative for Children in Armed Conflict, says "I can't think of any country in the world in which children suffer more than in Afghanistan. Because you not only have the terrible violations that occur during war but also the terrible poverty and hard workthat they have to engage in.
In all our meetings with children it takes a lot of time to make them smile. That to me shows that there is not happiness in their hearts.
We met children who had been maimed by aerial bombardment, night raids and other such perations.
We have also been receiving allegations about sexual violence against boys. Afghan civil society is particularly concerned about what has been called the Bacha-bazi system or practice for young boys associated with military commanders."
ReliefWeb, July 3, 2008
Rana, a 12-year old girl belonging to the Sarkhrud District of Ningarhar province, told PAN on 20 November that her father has Hepatitis and she is forced to work in Torkham.
She added that everyday she has to bring a small bag of flour from the other side of the border to earn 10 rupees.
Rana says, “I was beaten by the Pakistani border patrols three days back. They also took away my scarves and then they put me in a prison where other men and boys were also locked up.”
A 10-year old girl named Shabana told PAN that her father is dead and they have no man at home to earn.
According to her, she is slapped by the Pakistani border patrols and beat with sticks and their gun butts.
These children, who had been gathered on November 20 by a French NGO called TDH, demanded the government to pay attention to their future. This gathering was in regard to the International Children's Rights Day.
Hassan Khan one of the workers of the French NGO (called Human on Earth) told PAN that in Torkham about 4000 children have to do arduous work. He added that they had admitted 250 of these children to school last year and 130 of them in this year. According to Hassan Khan, they are in contact with the families of these children so that if possible they be rescued from the harsh labor.
He said that these children in Torkham are beaten by different people, smugglers make them do illegal works and if they are left in Torkham at night there is a possibility that they be raped.
Brigadier Abdul Munir Tarakhel, the commissioner in Torkham told PAN that child slaves are beaten by the people.
He added that they will also have a meeting with the authorities in the border of Pakistan.
Mia Ibrahim deputy of the Administration of Education of Ningarhar Province told PAN that they will soon inaugurate a secondary school in Torkham.
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