UN urged to delist Afghan forces from parties using child soldiers
KABUL (Pajhwok): Afghanistan on Tuesday asked the United Nations to delist its security forces from parties which recruit and use children as foot soldiers because the recruitment of children in the Afghan security forces had been stopped.
This was stated by Deputy Foreign Minister Hekmat Khalil Karzai at a joint press conference in Kabul with the Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General for Children and Armed Conflict Leila Zerrougui, who launched the campaign Children, Not Soldiers in March 2014.
A 2010 UN report said children below the age of 18 had been recruited in Afghanistan security forces, prompting the world’s body to include the Afghan forces in the list of parties which recruit and use children as soldiers.
Hekmat Karzai told reporters the Afghanistan government was duty-bound under Article Seven of the country’s Constitution to protect human and child rights and in this regard the government had taken serious measures.
He said the Action Plan signed with the UN had been implemented and practical measures in this regard had jointly been initiated with UNAMA and UNICEF in Afghanistan.
He said the Afghan parliament had passed legislation to criminalise underage recruitment in the Afghan National Security Forces and had approved a 15-article plan in this regard. He said a strategy had been adopted to prevent children from being recruited in the armed forces and cells had been set up at recruitment centres to avoid children from joining the forces.
Karzai said to discourage the recruitment of children into security forces, the campaign Children, Not Soldiers had been carried out in western Herat and eastern Nangarhar provinces.
“These measures show the Afghan government is committed to preventing the recruitment of children into security forces. Therefore the UN should remove the Afghan forces from the list of parties which recruit and use children as soldiers,” he said.
Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General for Children and Armed Conflict Leila Zerrougui said the international community was committed to and was trying to bring peace and stability to Afghanistan because in the absence of peace besides other violations children’s rights were also violated.
She praised measures the Afghan government had taken with regard to preventing the recruitment of children in armed forces and promised her efforts at removing the name of the Afghan security forces from the list.
She said she had meetings with Afghan officials of the ministries of defence, interior, hajj, labour, the National Directorate of Security and the Human Rights Commission and all promised with her that they would intensify their efforts at preventing children from used as soldiers.
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