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Afghanistan seeks troops’ removal from UN ‘List of Shame’

By Farhad Naibkhel-KABUL: Afghan government on Tuesday said that it had made enough efforts to ban recruitment of children in security forces, thus it seeks the removal of Afghan forces from the UN’s list of Shame.

According to a 2010 report of Ms. Kara Korumi, UN Special Rapporteur, the Afghan National Security Forces was added to the UN Secretary General list of Shame, based on underage recruitment.

“Considering progress have been made to ban recruiting of children in Afghan security forces, the government calls on the United Nations to consider the removal of the Afghan national security forces from the Secretary-General’s list of shame,” said Deputy Foreign Minister Hekmat Khalil Karzai.

Speaking at a joint press conference with Special Representative of the United Nations Secretary-General for Children and Armed Conflict Leila Zerrougui Karzai said: “In accordance with article 7 of the Afghan constitution, the government is obliged to observe, protect and realize the human rights values. Maintenance and protecting of children’s rights as the vulnerable group is one of the fundamental priorities of the government’s foreign policy and international relations.”

He said that Afghanistan was committed to align the provisions of International Human Rights Instruments and the resolutions of the UN aimed at upholding and realizing children’s rights with its national structures in the areas of legislation, policy making and institution building.

Afghan government in coordination with the UNAMA and UNICEF has gained significant achievements in different spheres, Karzai added.

The codification of action plan, ratification of Prohibition of Underage Recruitment Law for the Afghan security forces; adoption of action plan consist of 15-article and a roadmap to prevent child recruitment in the Afghan National Security Forces; establishment of child protection unites in the recruitment centers of Afghan national security forces in Balkh, Heart and Nangarhar were other steps held by the government of Afghanistan, he noted.

A campaign titled “Children No Soldier” was launched throughout the country as the measure towards protection of children affected by armed conflicts, asserted the deputy foreign minister.

“These achievements signify the commitment of Afghan government towards protection of child recruitment in the security forces.”

He called on the United Nations to consider the exclusion of the Afghan security forces from the UN Secretary-General’s list of shame.

Despite these achievements, the realization of human rights of children still faces challenges. The government in cooperation and collaboration with UNAMA, UNICEF and other international partners ensures preventive measures for child recruitment in the security forces as well as create conditions for reintegration of children affected by armed conflict, he underlined.

The UN Special Representative for Children and Armed Conflict Ms. Leila Zerrougui said: “As we have the same goal, we would like to give hope to the children of Afghanistan.”

She said that they want a sustainable peace and stability in this country.

“We are all committed to see not only Afghanistan security forces delisted, but to see this country get rid off of all aspects affected children,” she added.

She asked the donors and partners of Afghanistan to make sure that the issue of children is not in the periphery, but at the center.

“In Afghanistan, every family has 5-6 children or more, which are more than majority. So, we cannot achieve a sustainable peace if we don’t address their needs,” Zerrougui said. If we seriously protect them and ensure their access to education and build a safe place for them, they will not flee Afghanistan, she elaborated.

There is not hope, so they are fleeing. We have to ensure them about their future and the hope is in their country and their country needs them, so we will work together to achieve these all, she asserted.

“Considering progress half of the work has been done by the government of Afghanistan, but we recognized they have problems. We are in the process how to better address the issues.”

She said: “We all recognize that we have shortcomings and the challenges are very high, but we are working together to be the voice of voiceless.”

“We have still children who are not going to school, we have still closed schools because of attacks, girls are under threat and are not going to school. So, we seek how to overcome these challenges,” she concluded.

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