Afghanistan Human Rights Groups Tackle Child Sexual Abuse
Tuesday, June 17, 2008 4:23 PM

Human rights organizations in Afghanistan are drawing attention to sexual abuse and exploitation of children, which they say often goes unreported and unpunished, and for which victims rarely receive compensation or support services. The Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission (AIHRC) registered at least 31 cases of child sexual abuse in 2007, but the group believes that hundreds of cases occur each year.

Even when abuses are reported, perpetrators are seldom brought to justice. Only after the Afghanistan Human Right Organisation (AHRO) brought the story of a ten-year-old girl raped by a military commander to the attention of local and national media was the rapist arrested and brought to court in Kabul, over the protests of some influential figures. The rapist was eventually sentenced to 15 years in prison, but he has not paid any compensation to the victim. She has not received any rehabilitative services to help her overcome her physical and mental trauma and resume a normal life. In another recent case, a thirteen-year-old girl was gang-raped by seven men, but the accused rapists were released for lack of evidence two days after being apprehended, according to the AIHRC and the AHRO.

The AIHRC says the incidence of child sexual abuse is closely connected to human trafficking, which occurs both within Afghanistan and between that country and its neighbors. The lack of a comprehensive anti-trafficking law in Afghanistan has been identified as a key difficulty in combating the problems of child trafficking and abuse.

Compiled from: “Afghanistan: Little Support for Victims of Child Sexual Abuse,” Integrated Regional Information Networks, 16 June 2008.