Afghans sign policy for protection of children in armed conflict

Tariq Shah Bahrami, the minister of defence (seated left), signed and put into force a Child Protection Policy in a ceremony at the Afghan Ministry of Defence Dec. 5.
5 Dec 2017

KABUL, Afghanistan, December 5, 2017 – Afghanistan’s Minister of Defence, Lieutenant General Tariq Shah Bahrami today signed a major new Child Protection Policy that aims to shield children from the adverse effects of armed conflict in the country.

"We are a country that is working in unison with the world to improve human rights. We are now among those countries committed to implementing these international laws,” said Bahrami. "I would like to express my utmost appreciation to the joint work of the Ministry of Defence, Ministry of Interior and our Resolute Support partners for making this policy a top priority. What is important now is the implementation of this policy at all levels.”

Resolute Support is promoting several initiatives to help protect children in armed conflict in Afghanistan. A senior Child Protection Advisor works with the highest levels of leadership, a system for tracking children’s rights violations is being implemented, and the command has established Child Protection Focal Points in each of the Resolute Support commands and task forces to monitor and report any violations related to children in armed conflict, including sexual abuse observed by Resolute Support personnel.

"This policy allows Afghanistan to protect its most valuable resource: its children. This policy is the next step for a stable, safe Afghanistan,” said General John Nicholson, Resolute Support commander. "The NATO-led mission will continue to lend training, advice and assistance to work with the Afghan military, as well as with the UN and the international community to see that the child protection policy is fully embedded into the Afghan military’s operations.”

Today’s initiative is the outcome of a significant year-long effort to codify a number of measures to provide greater protection for children, including to prevent the use of violence against children involving any personnel in the Afghan National Army and its associated civilians and contractors in the Ministry of Defence.

"Under my watch I’ve already made it clear and now I’m going to make it very clear,” Nicholson said. "If soldiers under my command – U.S. or any of the 38 other Troop Contributing Nations providing forces here are witness to gross violations of human rights, they have a duty to report it immediately.”


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