The Government of Afghanistan and the United Nations today signed a child protection plan to end recruitment and use of children in the Afghan National Security Forces and other violations.
Afghan Minister of Foreign Affairs Zalmai Rassoul and Staffan de Mistura, Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Afghanistan and head of the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) co-signed the action plan with Special Representative Coomaraswamy. Peter Crowley, Representative of UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) in Afghanistan, attended the ceremony.
“Today we come together to undertake a big step for a better future for the children of Afghanistan,” said Minister Rassoul, adding that protection of children was not just the responsibility of the Government but of the entire community.
Implementation of the Action Plan will help remove the Afghan National Police from a UN list which includes organizations from 13 countries with “grave violations against children in armed conflict.”
Calling implementation of the UN Security Council-endorsed Action Plan “an ambitious undertaking” Special Representative Coomaraswamy called on the international community to provide reliable, sustainable and long-term support through engagement and allocation of appropriate resources.
The Steering Committee – established in July 2010 – consists of the head of the National Directorate of Security, the Presidential Advisor on Education and Health, and eight Ministers who with UN support created the Action Plan.
Its signing commits the Government to strengthening birth registration and mechanisms to better verify the age of recruits, as well as to investigate and prosecute groups and individuals who recruit minors.
The violations committed against children are monitored by the UN-led Country Task Force on Children and Armed Conflict, which includes representatives from UNICEF, UNAMA, Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), World Health Organization (WHO), Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission (AIHRC) and two international non-governmental organizations.