UNICEF voices ‘grave concern’ at child trafficking in Afghanistan

25 September 2003

The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) today expressed “grave concern” over the reported abduction and trafficking to neighbouring countries of Afghan children, some as young as four, and called on the government to use “the full weight of the law” against those found responsible.

“The illegal abduction and trafficking of children is contrary to several articles of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, which Afghanistan has ratified. The trafficking of children is a serious abuse of their rights and we cannot allow such an abuse to continue,” said Sharad Sapra, the UNICEF Representative in Afghanistan.

UNICEF Communications Officer Edward Carwardine told a briefing in Kabul, the Afghan capital, today that the agency had written to Interior Minister Ali Ahmad Jalali, calling for his intervention on this issue and requesting that the maximum resources possible be made available for the investigation of the reported abductions.

The agency has offered its full support to the government in raising awareness of this issue, training officials responsible for the protection of children, and cooperating in the monitoring and prevention of future cases. It sent a child rights professional this week to the northern provinces of Takhar and Badakhshan look into the issue.

UNICEF also took the opportunity to congratulate local law enforcement officials in Takhar who have prevented a number of children from being trafficked out of the country, he added.

 

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