By: Lailuma Noori
International Children’s Day is a day recognized to celebrate children and is marked on 1 June. The day is celebrated on various dates in different countries.
In 1953, UNICEF, originally known as the United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund, became a permanent part of the United Nations system. The main goal of the UNICEF is to support the children and work to improve the life condition of children around the world.
According to the preamble of the Convention on the Rights of the Child, the child should grow up in a family environment, in an atmosphere of happiness, love and understanding, and should be fully prepared to live an individual life in society, and brought up in the spirit of the ideals proclaimed in the Charter of the United Nations, and in particular in the spirit of peace, dignity, tolerance, freedom, equality and solidarity.
In Afghanistan, children are the most vulnerable segment of the Afghan society. Based on information of the ministry of labor, disabled and social affairs, half of Afghanistan population (around 15.5 million) is children and based on Afghanistan laws and the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, child is defined as a human being below the age of 18 years unless under the law applicable to the child, majority is attained earlier. Most of these children in Afghanistan are responsible for making a living to their families.
Sexual harassment, kidnapping, forced marriages, trafficking and misusing of children are some key cases of violence against children in the country. The government of Afghanistan has divided children at risk to 23 categories as children on road, sick children, trafficked children, homeless children, drug-addicted children, children forced to marriage, children deprived from education and children who have been raped.
Based on reports, children are in the worse situation in Afghanistan as a large number of children are deprived from education in insecure areas of the country due to increasing of conflicts. Besides, 2 million Afghan children between ages 5 and 14 work for a living or to help their families. Many are employed in jobs that can result in illness, injury, or even death due to hazardous working conditions and poor enforcement of safety and health standards.
According to the report, children in Afghanistan generally work long hours with little or no pay. They work in the home-based carpet industry; as bonded labor in brick kilns; in the metal industry as tinsmiths and welders; in mines; in agriculture; and on the streets as vendors, shoe shiners, and beggars. Work forces children to combine the burdens of a job with education or prevents them from going to school altogether. Work induces many children to leave school prematurely. Only half of Afghanistan’s child laborers attend school.
With all this, efforts by Afghanistan government in connection with prevention of hazardous labor of Afghan children are continuing as the government has committed to cut down the hazardous child labor to zero by 2025.
Celebration of the International Children’s Day is aimed to win the attention of governments, parents and community towards observing the rights of children who are huge investments of every society and nation.