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Monitoring Child Rights Violations Focus Of Envoy

Monitoring of child rights violations focus of UN envoy's visit to Afghanistan

27 June 2008 - The United Nations advocate for the protection of children caught up in armed conflict will leave tomorrow for a six-day visit to Afghanistan during which she will launch a system to monitor and report on violations of child rights in the battle-scarred nation.

Radhika Coomaraswamy, the Secretary-General's Special Representative for Children and Armed Conflict, will be accompanied by Louis Georges Arsenault, Director of the Office of Emergency Programs in New York for the UN Children's Fund (UNICEF).

During the visit, Ms. Coomaraswamy will inaugurate the monitoring and reporting mechanism called for by the Security Council in a resolution adopted in 2005 that called for scrutinizing six grave violations against children in situations of armed conflict.

They are the killing or maiming of children, recruitment or use of children as soldiers, rape and other grave sexual abuse of children, abduction of children, attacks against schools or hospitals, and denial of humanitarian access for children.

The mechanism has already been set up in a number of strife-torn countries, including the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Somalia, Nepal, Sri Lanka and Sudan.

In assessing the impact of conflict on Afghanistan's children, the Special Representative will pay particular attention to the issues of attacks on girls' schools, children associated with anti-Government elements, including the Taliban, and their detention for alleged association with these groups.

She is expected to take up these issues when she meets with Government officials, religious and tribal leaders, the UN Country Team, members of civil society and children affected by conflict.

ENDS

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