AFGHANISTAN: Report of the Secretary-General on children and armed conflict.


SRSG Coomaraswamy. 

10 November 2008


I urge all anti-government elements who are party to the conflict to immediately stop the use, exploitation and recruitment of children and recommend that Afghan National Security Forces develop appropriate age verification procedures and take appropriate measures to improve the protection of children.

In addition I encourage all parties to the conflict to enter into a dialogue with the country Task Force on Monitoring and Reporting with a view to halting grave violations of children’s rights, as stipulated by the Security Council in its resolution 1612 (2005), and to ensure that information on violations committed against children in armed conflict is collected and disseminated to all appropriate actors.

In this regard, I encourage the Government of Afghanistan to intensify its efforts to prosecute all perpetrators of crimes committed against children and to ratify ILO Convention No. 182. I also call upon the Afghan authorities to introduce legislation aimed at criminalizing the recruitment of children in armed conflict and to consider enacting legislation necessary to give effect to the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court.

I strongly urge the Taliban and other anti-government elements to immediately cease attacks against civilians, especially children, and civilian objectives. The United Nations country team in Afghanistan is encouraged to engage with the Afghan Government on means to advocate the cessation of such attacks. All parties to the conflict are urged to comply with principles of international law, to recognize and maintain the neutrality and safety of schools, hospitals, religious institutions, including their personnel, as “zones of peace” and to publicly declare an end to such

I call upon international military forces and Afghan National Security Forces to improve standing operating procedures and rules of engagement, in particular by including special protection measures pertaining to children.

I urge the Government of Afghanistan and international military forces to ensure due process for all juveniles detained because of their alleged association with armed groups, regardless of the arresting authority.

I further request the Government of Afghanistan and international military forces to grant the United Nations and human rights monitoring bodies full access to all their detention facilities, including the National Directorate of Security and the Bagram Airbase.

I condemn in the strongest possible terms the attacks against humanitarian actors by the Taliban and other anti-government elements, in particular the killings and abductions, and call upon all parties to respect principles of international humanitarian and human rights law and to ensure the safety and protection of all those engaged in humanitarian action. In this regard, I also call upon community
and religious leaders to publicly condemn attacks against humanitarian workers and to assist in developing appropriate measures for the protection of humanitarian actors and their programmes.

I welcome the efforts of my Special Representative to strengthen the child protection capacity of UNAMA, including by deploying child protection advisers.

I request the United Nations country team and the donor community to provide additional support to national programmes and initiatives to enhance the protection of children in Afghanistan.

I encourage the Government of Afghanistan to implement more fully laws and programmes to prevent and punish sexual violence and to support victims, monitor grave sexual violations against boys as well as girls and work with my team in Afghanistan to study ways and means of combating harmful practices, including that of bacha baazi, with the support of Afghan religious leaders and civil society.

I call upon the country Task Force on Monitoring and Reporting to present a plan within three months time, on ways and means to interface with Government, international military forces and other relevant parties to extend the monitoring and reporting mechanism mandated by Security Council resolution 1612 (2005) to all conflict areas of Afghanistan.

I request respective United Nations country teams and agencies to develop a regional framework of cooperation and information exchange in order to better address cross-border issues such as child recruitment and abduction. (paragraphs 64 to 76)



Please note that these reports are hosted by CRIN as a resource for Child Rights campaigners, researchers and other interested parties. Unless otherwise stated, they are not the work of CRIN and their inclusion in our database does not necessarily signify endorsement or agreement with their content by CRIN.