Human Lives Human Rights: A study has found that 5,770 Afghan children were killed or maimed between January 2019 and December 2020. The child casualties hit their highest levels ever during the first half of this year, says the study.
The human rights organizations are deeply disturbed by the scale, severity and recurrence of grave violations endured by the children in Afghanistan.
“Afghanistan continues to be one of the most dangerous places to be a child,” Virginia Gamba the United Nations Special Representative for Children and Armed Conflict said.
“I am appalled by the continuing and rising high levels of violence endured by children in Afghanistan, including those caught up in combat,” she added.
“As the already dramatic situation continues to evolve rapidly and concerning reports of human rights violations keep arising, I call for all abuses to stop, and I urge the Taliban and all other parties to abide by their obligations under international humanitarian law and international human rights law, as well as by national commitments and protect the lives and rights of all people, including those of women and girls.”
The research revealed that during the reporting period, one in three casualties was a child.
Armed groups, particularly the Taliban, were responsible for most incidents, or 46 per cent, with Government and pro-Government forces accounting for 35 per cent, followed by landmines and explosive remnants of war.
Ms Gamba said: “It is urgent that all parties take the necessary actions to minimize harm to children and prioritize their protection in the conduct of hostilities as well as protect schools and hospitals.”
“When Afghan children have already had their childhood taken away from them, such harm is bound to affect generations to come. With figures already alarmingly high and the Taliban identified in the report as a major perpetrator of violence against children, the future of children, especially girls in Afghanistan is dark.”
More than 6,470 grave violations against children during the reporting period were verified, with nearly half attributed to the Taliban. Some 297 attacks on schools and hospitals also were verified.
Despite a decrease in assaults on schools, the report’s authors noted that attacks on hospitals and protected personnel rose, which they found particularly egregious, given the fragile state of the Afghan healthcare system and the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Meanwhile, deliberate Taliban attacks on girls’ schools remain “a worrisome trend”. Ms. Gamba appealed for the group, and all other parties to the conflict, to respect human rights, including the right to education for girls.