The Ministry of Education said on Saturday that its investigation into allegations of sex abuse of hundreds of children and youths in Logar province will be wrapped up soon and the findings will be shared with the public.
In mid-November, a Logar civil society group claimed that “over 390” children and youth had been sexually abused in six schools in the province. Apparently a “ring” of abusers had made videos of their victims and posted them online, causing some of the abused boys and teenagers to be killed by their parents, presumably for dishonoring the family. The UK’s Guardian took up the story and quoted civil society members saying “ teachers, headteachers and local authority officials are implicated in the abuse ring.”
Public outcry followed, and members of parliament engaged in heated debates over the veracity of the story and what should be done. MPs and others called for an investigation, and the Ministry of Education authorized a team to go to Logar.
“The investigation of our delegation is being completed. And soon the findings will be shared with the Afghan people through the media,” said Nooria Nazhat, the ministry spokeswoman on Saturday.
Besides the Ministry of Education, the Afghan parliament and Logar’s local authorities have also appointed teams to investigate the allegations.
But Akbar Stanikzai, a senator from Logar province, said that the allegations are not true.
“A joint delegation from the House of Representatives, a delegation from the Ministry of Education, and another one from the Logar authorities have all been dispatched to investigate the claims, but the Senate has not sent a delegation, knowing that this was not the true.”
However, the Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission (AIHRC) says that if these reports turn out to be valid, legal action must be taken, and the people who reported the abuse should be protected from reprisals.
“Documenting such cases should not jeopardize those human rights activists who are pursuing the investigation of this case, and if similar results are reached, naturally the case should be pursued by the courts,” said Shahzad Akbar, head of Afghanistan’s Independent Human Rights Commission.