The information below is based on the Report of the Secretary-General on children and armed conflict (A/73/907–S/2019/509) issued on 20 June 2019.
Cases of Recruitment and Use
Attacks on schools
2018 Verified Figures
killing and Maiming:927 children killed and 2,135 children injured, including 831 girls.
Child Recruitment and Use:46 verified cases of boys.
Sexual Violence Against Children: 4 verified cases of sexual violence.
Attacks on Schools and Education:192 verified incidents of attacks on schools and education personnel.
Attacks on Hospitals: A total of 62 incidents of attacks on hospitals and protected personnel were verified.
Abduction:19 verified incidents of abduction affecting 41 boys and 2 girls. Among those cases, 32 were attributed to the Taliban, 6 to ISIL-KP (including the 2 girls), and 1 to a pro-government militia.
Denial of Humanitarian Access: 44 incidents were verified, most attributed to armed groups.
Developments and concerns
I note the significant reduction in the recruitment and use of children by the Afghan Security Forces and commend the measures taken by the Government to
better protect children affected by armed conflict, including through the child protection units in the Afghan National Police recruitment centres, which now cover all 34 provinces of Afghanistan, and the entry into force of the revised Penal Code, which explicitly criminalizes the recruitment and use of children, including bacha bazi and falsification of tazkeras (identity documents). I call for the full application of the revised Code. Notwithstanding those developments, the use of children, including bacha bazi, remains an issue of concern. I urge the Government to address remaining gaps, specifically the lack of screening mechanisms within the Afghan local police and the use of children at police checkpoints, and to ensure accountability for the perpetrators of grave violations against children.
I call on the Government to release children allegedly or currently associated with parties to conflict from detention facilities in accordance with the Principles and Guidelines on Children Associated with Armed Forces or Armed Groups (Paris Principles), which were endorsed by Afghanistan in 2017. In addition, children detained on national-security related charges need to be transferred to juvenile rehabilitation centres and have access to all services, in line with international juvenile justice standards.
I remain extremely concerned about the continuous high numbers of children killed and maimed by all parties, notably the record high number of children killed in 2018. I note the decrease of child casualties attributed to the Afghan security forces, and the measures taken by the Government to mitigate child casualties. I commend the ongoing implementation of the National Policy on Civilian Casualty Prevention and Mitigation, adopted in October 2017, as well as the entry into force of the Protocol on Explosive Remnants of War to the Convention on Prohibitions or Restrictions on the Use of Certain Conventional Weapons Which May Be Deemed to Be Excessively Injurious or to Have Indiscriminate Effects (Protocol V), in February 2018, and the revision of the aerial targeting protocols, and encourage the Government to continue the inclusion of legal advisers in targeting processes. I strongly encourage the Government to include aspects relating to ending and preventing killing and maiming in the existing action plan. I am also alarmed by the increase in the number of children killed and maimed by international forces, especially in aerial operations. I welcome the precautionary measures to mitigate civilian and child casualties in military operations, including the designation by the United States of America Department of Defense of a senior civilian responsible for
coordinating compliance with policies relating to non-combatant casualties in United States military operations. I also note the role of the Senior Child Protection Adviser of the Resolute Support Mission in protecting children in armed conflict. I request my Special Representative to engage proactively and follow up on the implementation of all measures taken by the Government and international forces to mitigate child casualties. I strongly urge the Government and international forces to immediately take additional extraordinary measures to protect children during military operations, including during aerial operations, and to continue to abide by their obligations under international law. I reiterate my call on armed groups to immediately cease the killing
and maiming of children.
I am concerned about the continued recruitment and use of children by armed groups, including for combat roles, as well as about attacks that affect access to education and health, including during elections, demining activities and vaccination campaigns, and demand that concerned parties, notably the Taliban and ISIL-KP, put an immediate halt to such actions. I strongly encourage the Government to prioritize the protection of schools and hospitals during elections. I urge listed parties to conflict to engage with the United Nations so as to elaborate action plans.