Tired of prolonged waiting to see the government in action to protect their rights, scores of street children in the capital city flocked for protest and gave vent to their anger for being ignored by the relevant departments and human rights groups. Deprived of the fundamental rights and involved in laborious tasks, the school-age street children lamented over lack of employment opportunities as their parents are jobless. These underprivileged children are the sole breadwinners in the age which is supposed to be for playing. According to the UN reports five million Afghan children including three million girls have no access to education—a shocking figure that should have opened eyes of those sitting in the corridors of power, because these teenagers are the future nation-builders.
It will be very unfortunate if the government and humanitarian organizations continued to ignore miseries of these children who make a living by what they get. They polish shoes, clean vehicles, sell candies and work in hotels but never stand for begging. Perhaps, it is the reason that their calls fall on the deaf ears, despite laws and conventions such as the Convention on the Rights of the Child. As per the convention, every one under the age of eighteen is a child and needs local protection. The state is responsible to take imperative administrative and legislative steps to protect the children from all forms of mental and physical violence, maltreatment, injury and abuse. Therefore, it is clear that state is responsible for special legal protection and care of children, because they also deserve to live with dignity. We want our children to be screenager but of others to be scavengers. They have as equal rights as the elite and ruling class provides to their own children.
However, the dilemma is that the government acknowledges that children rights status is at the lowest ebb but find it difficult to get up and take action. Mostly, the government focuses on decruitment instead of recruitment. As a result families of the street children face economic constraints. To protect children’s rights the government should provide employment opportunities to their parents. If the state supports the needy families while providing essential assistance no one will allow their child to work on streets and be exposed to sexual abuse. Special boarding schools should be built for street children to prevent the children from involvement in crimes, laborious and hazardous tasks.
Furthermore, well-off people should come forward to support these families and the NGOs should spend donors’ money in transparent way and in projects that could bring change in real sense. Judiciary, media and legislators have also major role to play in this regard. The relevant authorities should not bury their heads in sand but come forward with solid plans to help the street children as tall trees grow from a small seed. Therefore, every step of the government is countable if taken for welfare and protection of these children. If we failed to embrace them they will grow breaking every rule in the book.