The impact of armed conflict on the rights of Afghan girls was the focus a UN-backed event to mark the International Day of the Girl Child at Herat’s Juvenile Rehabilitation Centre last week.
The event brought together some 60 representatives from different government departments and civil society organizations, and included musical performances, poetry recitals and theatre sketches all designed to highlight the negative consequences of the country’s ongoing conflict on Afghan girls.
One of the theatre performances told the tragic story of girls growing up in a village captured by insurgents, who forced the girls to marry their captors. The other performance focused on a teen struggling with a decision to join an armed group.
Majid Khan Hamidi, the head of Herat’s Juvenile Rehabilitation Centre, spoke at the event to emphasize the importance of girls’ education, saying it is “one of the basic steps leading the community toward a prosperous future.”
Echoing those comments, Michael Lackner, from the Herat regional office of the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA), stressed the importance of education. “Providing educational opportunities to children, and in particular to girls, is an obligation of every state,” he said.
On 19 December 2011, the UN adopted Resolution 66/170 to declare October 11 the International Day of the Girl Child to recognize girls’ rights and the unique challenges girls face. The theme of this year’s Day of the Girl Child comes from the world body’s Sustainable Development Goals agenda, with the slogan being ‘Girls’ Progress Equals Goals’ Progress.’
UNAMA’s Human Rights team supported the event and continues to monitor detention facilities to report on the living conditions of detainees. Herat’s Juvenile Rehabilitation Centre accommodates about 130 juvenile detainees, ranging in age from 12 to 18 years old.