The Use of Children as War Instrument

On April 30th, 2014, Afghanistan Justice Organization (AJO) held a one day conference on “The Use of Children as War Instrument” at the National Legal Training Center (NLTC), Kabul University.

The overall objective of this conference was to bring together university professors, leading experts and civil society members representing diverse sectors including the Government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan (GIRoA), parliament, civil society organizations, academia, media, and the international community to:

1.      Discuss the legitimacy of children’s involvement in armed conflicts both legally and from Sharia point of view;
2.      Deepen the understanding that children suicide bombings are forbidden both in Sharia and CRC to which Afghanistan is a  party;
3.      Educate public on the negative impact of children used in armed conflict to the communities;
4.      Encourage public to outright condemn this practice and denounce child suicide bombing as a crime against humanity, Sha’ria, and laws;  
5.      Come up with clear recommendations to guide and mobilize all relevant public and private sector to take actions.

The conference was divided into two sessions. In the first session, the discussions at the conference addressed the following two questions:

1.      Using children in war (particularly in suicide bombings) from Islamic perspective?
2.      Using children in war (particularly in suicide bombings) from legal perspective


Subsequently, a second session was held with the representatives of the parliament, related ministries, governmental agencies and civil societies to further elaborate the role of everyone in stopping child suicide bombings. The participants discussed the following question:

1.      What safeguards to be placed by relevant organizations both private and public to stop child suicide bombing

During the second session, the participants were given the floor to participate in the discussions and finally recommendations developed were shared with the concerned authorities/organzisations.

The following respected speakers discussed the topic:

- Honorable Mr. Farahi, Deputy Minister, Ministry of Information & Culture
- Honorable Ms. Farkhunda Zahra Naderi, Parliament Member
- Honorable Mr. Noor Habib Jalal, Deputy Attorney General/AGO
- Mr. Mohammad Sharif Rabati, Advisor to Minister, Ministry of Haj
- Mr. Razim Khan Rawan, Head of Children Departement, Ministry of Interior
- Mr. Lutfullah MAshal, Spokes Person, National Directorate Security
- Prof. Dr. Wadir Safi, VP/AJO and Executive Director/NLTC - Prof. Dr. Iftikhar, Professor of Sharia Faculty, Kabul University
- Mr. Nasrullah Stanikzai, Professor of Law Faculty, Kabul University​

The conference participants and speakers emphasized on the following actions to be taken to prevent such incident Anticipated conference outcome included:

- Coordination between the relevant government organizations to not only prevent children use as war instrument but also creat opportunities to provide possible support to children and their families for education and economic development.
- Raise public awareness and and conduct fruitful debate about this crime against children because ignoring it is sending the message that we don't care or that we condone the activity, and the longer we are silent, the longer this practice will continue;
- Policy recommendations to be suggested on the way forward, and strict laws specifically adopted to counter this crime;
- The civil society organizations, academia, media, and international community to be engaged with the Afghan government in its efforts to prevent using children as suicide bombers; - Ministry of Education to make such topics as part of the school and madrassas’ curriculum.

The conference was broadely covered by media outlets such as Tolo TV, PAzhwak News Agency, VOA/Ashna TV, Negah TV and Tamadon TV.