The Afghan government and the United Nations International Children Emergency Fund (UNICEF) signed a joint work plan on Thursday in Kabul to help children in Afghanistan in 2020 and 2021.
Shima Sengupta, the deputy and acting country director of UNICEF in Afghanistan, said that Afghan children face too many challenges that must be addressed.
“All of these require urgent attention and action and it requires our joint efforts to improve the current situation of children. And I am certain that the ruling work plan will help us overcome some of the barriers that we are faced with,” said Sengupta.
Meanwhile, Afghan second Vice President Sarwar Danish also stated concerns about the vulnerability of children in Afghanistan and said that more than 3 million children in the country are not in school.
“44 percent of school-age children still have no access to schools across the country – it means 3.7 million children are not in school due to war, insecurity, displacement and other issues,” explained Danish.
In the meantime, the acting minister for the Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs said that at least 6 million children in Afghanistan are in danger.
“Based on our statistics, 6 million children are in danger in the country and 3 million of them are in an emergency situation,” said Sayed Anwar, acting minister of Labor and Social Affairs.
Sengupta also mentioned the recent Child Protection Act, which was approved by the Afghan parliament but faces opposition by some MPs.
She said the law provides measures to safeguard children's rights and to help prevent them from being victimized.
The Child Protection Act was approved by the Afghan parliament’s lower house earlier this month but has been tied up in controversy since, primarily over the legal age of children.
The law, if enacted, will protect children and youth under 18. The law will secure the rights of children for citizenship, identity, and birth registration. Also, the law establishes freedom for children of religious minorities as well as the right of access to services, and the right to education.
The law will help victims of the illegal practice of Bacha Bazi and it will prohibit the recruitment of children as soldiers.