November 22, Kabul – Save the Children celebrated Universal Children’s Day together with Ministry of Labour, Social Affairs and Martyrs and Disabled (MoLSAMD), and National and International Non-Governmental Organizations under the leadership of MoLSAMD. Despite progress made we still have a considerable way to go.
The Afghan Government ratified the United Nations Child Rights Convention (UNCRC) in 1994 and made significant progress over the past 15 years, particularly in improving access to health services as well as education for boys and girls, but still millions of children are being robbed of everything that makes them children – including their right to be safe, to learn, to grow, to be healthy and to play.
“Despite positive progress in the past few years, there is still a worrying situation in Afghanistan, with more than 9 percent of children in Afghanistan dying before their fifth birthday, 40 percent suffering stunting, 1 in 3 children being out of school and 30 percent involved in child labor.” said Save the Children Country Director Onno van Manen.
Children should have their full rights exercised in terms of survival, protection, development and participation, but this is still not the experience for a large proportion of Afghan children, who are having their childhoods ripped away, often because they are forced to flee conflict, they are excluded from the education system or they are being forced to work, or they faces abuse and exploitation.
Therefore Save the Children calls upon the Afghan Parliament to enact the Child Act without any delays-in the month that the United Nations General Assembly originally adopted the Declaration of the Rights of the Child, and the Convention on the Rights of the Child, and requests H.E. the President to endorse it. This will provide the opportunity for the establishment of proper structures by the government to respond to the child rights challenges in the country. In addition to this, Save the Children is requesting the Afghan Government to further integrate UNCRC recommendations into the legal system to ensure there are improvements in the legal measures to respond to the child rights violations in a proper manner in Afghanistan.
“We are optimistic that with the current focus on the Week of the Child by the Government of Afghanistan this can be taken forward with the required urgency.