Herat high school students mark Universal Children’s Day at UN event
HERAT - Herat high school students marked Universal Children’s Day at a UN event that showcased their poems, essays and other creative work produced in several months of training about the impact of armed conflict on children.
The training started in late September and continued through mid-November, culminating today with children displaying their dramatic work, holding a debate about children’s rights and watching movies about the impact of armed conflict on children.
The training was supported by the Herat regional office of the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA), the Afghan Independent Human Rights Commission and UN Mine Action.
According to UNAMA’s October update report on the protection of civilians, child casualties have risen year-on-year since 2013. In the first nine months of 2016, UNAMA documented 2,461 child casualties (639 deaths and 1,822 injured), a 15 per cent increase on the same period in 2015. The report noted that 84 per cent of victims from unexploded ordnance were children.
Shirin Sukhan, the principal of one of the high schools involved in the training, said the training sessions encouraged children to think about their rights and to become advocates to protect other children.
Commenting on the training, a 10th grade student said that human rights violations could affect children’s ability to grow up and participate in society, and can affect how they are treated by their community.
Universal Children's Day, which was established by the United Nations in 1954, is celebrated on 20 November each year as a day of worldwide fraternity and understanding between children. It also marks the day on which the UN General Assembly adopted the Declaration of the Rights of the Child (in 1959) and the Convention on the Rights of the Child (in 1980).
Herat province shares a border with both Iran and Turkmenistan, and is known as a trading gateway.
UNAMA is mandated to support the Afghan Government and the people of Afghanistan as a political mission that provides good offices; promotes coherent development support by the international community; supports the process of peace and reconciliation; monitors and promotes human rights and the protection of civilians in armed conflict; promotes good governance; and encourages regional cooperation.