The Killid Group, March 25, 2013
Terrible child abuse
Ahmad Belal Sidiqi, assistant in the children's rights department of AIHRC, says the figures of violence against children under the age of 18 years are increasing
Despite national and international efforts to rein in child abuse, the violence has only increased, says new research.
The AIHRC (Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission) says out of 140 cases of sexual attacks registered over the last two years, 80 were cases of abuse of children.
Children are still the most vulnerable in Afghanistan after a decade of democratic rule funded by the international community. They can be seen begging on street corners, or at work from morning to night.
Child in a street. (Photo: http://peaceserve.wordpress.com/photos/afghan-innocent-faces/)
Ahmad Belal Sidiqi, assistant in the children's rights department of AIHRC, says the figures of violence against children under the age of 18 years are increasing. The independent rights commission's research reveals many cases go unreported.
Unless the government fast-tracks the cases to ensure justice is done the situation will not improve, rights activists say.
Abdul Rahman Hotaki, Civil Society Coordination Jirga chairman, says: "Children are not only forced to work, but abused sexually. Everyone is involved from international forces to government soldiers and smugglers."
The government has told the Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs to take children off the streets, and put them in schools. But this has not happened, admits Hotaki.
According to him, children are not aware that they have rights, and can seek protection from abuse. He dismissed the work done by national and international non-governmental agencies as unsuccessful in curbing abuse.
"NGOs and other institutions supported by international donor agencies have put pressure on the government but it has not led to any improvement in the status of children," he told Killid.
Afghan children are also victims of rampant drug abuse in the country. No other country produces as much opium and drugs, says UNODC (the UN Office on Drugs and Crimes). Reports in the media say a study conducted indicated that in 25 percent of homes where adult addicts lived children as young as a one year old who were tested showed signs of significant exposure to opium.
Activist Ajmal Balouchzada says, "Children need special attention, or the situation will not improve."
He urged the government to set up special courts to try cases of child abuse. "Unfortunately there is no protection for children from their abusers," he added.
Characters Count: 2949