3 million Afghan children facing threats: Minister
KABUL (Pajhwok): The Ministry of Labour, Social Affairs, Martyrs and Disabled on Tuesday voiced grave concernat the situation of children in Afghanistan, saying around three million minors were under threat.
Labour and Social Affairs Minister Nasrin Oryakhel, speaking at an event on child labour, acknowledged working children needed utmost care. “There are 14.5 million children in Afghanistan, out of whom three million are facing danger and need care.”
Oryakhelsaid 1.9 million children in Afghanistan were busy doing hard labour. “Our figures show an increase in violence against children. They need care and to provide safer lives for them, we need to join hands.”
Forced labour, underage marriage, trafficking, sexual harassment, beatings, drug abuse, training for suicide mission and begging are the threats facing the Afghan children.
She said based on her information more than 119 non-governmental organisations worked in Afghanistan for children’s welfare, but still the challengehad not been met.
A joint report by the UN and the Public Health Ministry in 2012 said around 50 percent of the Afghan population consisted of children under the age of 15. The Central Statistics Organisation puts Afghanistan’s population at around 27.5 million.
Lakshmi Balaji, UNICEF representative for Afghanistan, also expressed concerns about the plight of children. “Afghan children are threatened since their birth. Because they face poverty, illiteracy, forced labour, lack of access to the rights that they are entitled to and lack of health services.”
He underlined the need for children’s access to education. “We should all come together to reduce forced labour for children.”
Soraya Sobhrang, Independent Human Rights Commission (IHRC)’s member, said: “We are committed to launching national research into the consequences of forced labour in Afghanistan.
“We want to raise awareness about how much such labour harms the children physically and psychologically. And how it prevents their access to basic rights and education.”
First Lady Rula Ghani’s message was also read out at the event. She said Afghan children had endured great suffering and their problems needed to be addressed on a priority basis.
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