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Afghanistan: National inquiry calls for stronger protections against child abuse

Graphic: Press conference to release the Commission's national inquiry report

Sexual abuse of boys has been increasing in Afghanistan, according to a new report published by the Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission.


Sexual abuse of boys has been increasing in Afghanistan, according to a new report published by the Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission.

Covering the report launch, the Turkish Weekly noted that "bacha bazi" – literally meaning "playing with boys" in Farsi – is a practice in some parts of Afghanistan that involves using prepubescent and adolescent boys for entertainment and sexual activities.

The Commission recently concluded a national inquiry into the causes and negative consequences of bacha bazi.

The report found that poverty was a major cause for the emergence and prevalence of bacha bazi, with two-thirds of victims saying they received money from the perpetrators.

The Commission's Chairperson, Dr Sima Simar, told journalists in Kabul that bacha bazi is a crime but it is not properly prevented by law.

"Most of the families don't know that their children are raped. The perpetrators of bacha bazi take advantage of their poverty and entice the children with money," she said.

The practice was previously outlawed under the Taliban regime, which sentenced perpetrators to death.

The Commission found that the most common form of exploitation was sleeping with the children but many were also forced to dance for or travel with abusers.

"We want the government to seriously fight the culture of impunity and to put more efforts to strengthen the rule of law so that the perpetrators of bacha bazi would be punished," Samar said.

More information about the Commission's national inquiry is available at: http://www.aihrc.org.af/home/daily_report/3324

This national inquiry included 71 focus group sessions and 17 public hearing sessions in 17 provinces of our country.

These sessions were attended by almost 2200 people – including members of the provincial councils, representatives of justice and judicial organs, local elders, specialists, university lecturers, civil society, the media, security organs, religious Ulama and local influential figures – to exchange views about the consequences of bacha bazi.

A number of NHRIs in the region are currently planning or conducting national inquiries into different human rights issues, including Australia (on the rights of children in immigration detention), the Maldives (on access to education for children with disabilities), Palestine (on the rights of persons with disabilities to decent work) and Indonesia (on human rights and indigenous forest lands).

In 2012, the APF and the Raoul Wallenberg Institute published the Manual on Conducting a National Inquiry into Systemic Patterns of Human Rights Violation, which includes information and case studies and planning and undertaking an effective national inquiry.

Date: 21 August 2014


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  1. Press conference to release the Commission's national inquiry report - Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission