Sunday, December 10, 2017

Afghanistan Ministry of Defense's Child Protection Policy

The Ministry of Defense of Afghanistan has signed and put into force a Child Protection Policy. The initiative codifies a number of measures to provide for protection for children - including preventing the use of violence against children by personnel in the Afghan National Army and the Ministry of Defense (MoD). The policy establishes a system for the monitoring, reporting, and investigating of violations by MoD personnel.

NATO's Resolute Support mission is also taking some steps to improve its monitoring and reporting system for instances of child abuse by members of the Afghan National Defense and Security Forces (ANDSF). Pre-deployment training and in-theater training of personnel has improved on the topic of child abuse in Afghanistan perpetrated by members of the ANDSF. Training is also taking place for many of the NATO officers and NCOs that are deploying to Afghanistan as advisors at the NATO Joint Force Training Centre (JFTC) in Bydgoszcz, Poland. Personnel who are scheduled to deploy to Afghanistan can also access an online NATO-distributed learning course on Children and Armed Conflict - developed with the support of the United Nations in New York.

A big driver for the adoption of improved reporting procedures by Resolute Support are the numerous reports of sexual child abuse by the ANDSF that has gotten the attention of Congressional leaders in Washington. The Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR) and the Department of Defense Inspector General's office have released reports in 2017 on the topic. The instances of 'boy play' or bachi bazi by members of the ANDSF has captured the attention of human rights activists and other critics and observers of the Afghan conflict. This has prompted questions about Resolute Supports reporting history when military personnel have witnessed or come across evidence of instances of bachi bazi.

Read "Resolute Support's Role in Helping to Protect Children in Armed Conflict", Resolute Support HQs, December 5, 2017.

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