The UN Report on Children and Conflict released in June this year covers 23 countries between the period from January to December 2011, falls short of its objectives despite high claims by UN Secretary General about the efficiency and capability of his team.
The highly publicized report covers grave violations committed against children, in particular the recruitment and use of children, sexual violence against children, the killing and maiming of children, the abduction of children, attacks on schools and hospitals, and the denial of humanitarian access to children by parties to conflict in contravention of applicable international law as envisaged in UN Security Council resolutions 1261 (1999), 1314 (2000), 1379 (2001), 1460 (2003), 1539 (2004), 1612 (2005), 1882 (2009) and 1998 (2011), in addition to its presidential statements on children and armed conflict.
The report is too simplistic and fails to cover the whole picture. Furthermore, it does not depict the real situation on the ground and seems to be based on secondary information collected through print and electronic media, NGOs and Government reports (which are usually politically motivated). There is nothing new in the report for a regular reader of Newspapers. The report seems to be prepared and edited in the cozy offices of UN at New York. Avoiding detailed analysis we will discuss just two countries named Afghanistan and Pakistan which have been mentioned in this UN Document. The failure to report detailed information about the two countries points to the lack of motivation, efficiency and commitment: while lack of professionalism to conduct primary research through multiple UN Agencies, funds, working groups, child advisers, country Task forces on child protection and UN Department of Peace Keeping operations.
In Afghanistan, 32 forced closure of schools have been reported. While in the same period the Afghan Ministry of Education has reported the forced closure of 500 schools in areas controlled by Taliban. There is no mention of children abducted, detained, sexually abused and recruited by the Talibans.
Pakistan is among 7 countries which are not on the agenda of UNSC, which seems to be politically motivated as the countrys military, secret services and Taliban are involved in systematic abduction, arbitrary detention, torture and extra-judicial killings of children in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Tribal Areas adjacent to Afghan border.
According to the report, 152 schools have been destroyed by TTP (Taliban) in Pakistan. It does not seem to be correct as one school is destroyed daily in KPK and Tribal Areas. More than 2000 schools have been bombed and destroyed since 2007 while many more are forcefully closed by Taliban depriving the children of their right to education. More than 25000 Madresas (religious schools) are brainwashing and training children to become suicide bombers. Chained children have been recovered from one such religious school in Karachi. 476 major incidents of terrorism took place in 2011 resulting in killing of 4447 people including children. More than 300.000 children have been internally-displaced due to Military operations and Talibans attacks in Khyber Agency, a small town in Tribal region adjecent to Afghanistan. These children are deprived of education and are an easy target of Taliban to be used as suicide bombers and soldiers. More than 3 million children most of them girls are deprived of education in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province of Pakistan. Most of the Child suicide bombers in Afghanistan have been trained in Pakistan. There are reports of children been trafficked from Afghanistan to Pakistan to be trained as suicide bombers. A revelation by Umar Fidai, a 14 years old boy that more than 400 children are trained as suicide bombers in North Waziristan should be an eye opener for UN Monitors in the region. Most of the terrorists attacks involving children in Afghanistan have been traced back to Pakistan. All these fact presented above have not been mentioned in the report. It is ironic that a country sponsor of terrorism perpetrated against children is not on the agenda of UN Security Council.
IRESK recommends the motivation and sensitization of the personnel of the UN agencies, task forces on children rights and protection issues.
UN agencies needs to create awareness about child rights and protections and develop a strong liaison with media to sensitize all stakeholders on this important issue. Create awareness about grave violations like recruitment and use of children, sexual violence against children, the killing and maiming of children, the abduction of children and attacks on schools and hospitals.
The number of children and women killed in terrorists attacks should be reported specifically to make the terrorists ashamed of their acts and show the ugly face of terrorism.
Report every single case of terrorism in which a child is a target, a child is used as a tool of terrorism (suicide bomber) and a child is deprived of education.
A new resolution of the UN Security Council is needed condemning the deliberate terrorist attacks on children and the used of children as tool of terrorism.