The fifth report of the UN Secretary-General on Children and Armed Conflict in Afghanistan is being released against a backdrop of the collapsing security and political situation in Afghanistan in which hundreds of children have been killed or maimed in recent weeks and the civilian population faces chaos, fear, and dread.
The report highlights that an additional 5,770 boys and girls have been killed and maimed in Afghanistan between January 2019 and December 2020. Furthermore, child casualties for the first half of 2021 constituted the highest number of children killed and maimed for this period ever recorded by the UN in Afghanistan, a situation compounded in the last few weeks and days.
“Afghanistan continues to be one of the most dangerous places for a child to live and grow. I am appalled by the continuing and rising high levels of violence endured by children in Afghanistan, including those caught up in combat. 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,” said the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Children and Armed Conflict, Virginia Gamba.
With Afghanistan at a turning point, the United Nations and civil society child protection teams on the ground play a central role in taking concrete steps towards ending and preventing violations, supporting peace efforts that include children, promoting the rights of Afghan children, including hard-won girls’ rights, and providing vital humanitarian help to the millions in need. “I call on all parties to ensure the safety of United Nations and civil society actors on the ground, and to respect their neutrality, impartiality and independence,” she added.
Source: OSRSG Children and Armed Conflict