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Children at orphanages prone to sexual abuse


Children at orphanages prone to sexual abuse

May 16, 2017 - 23:41

KABUL (Pajhwok):  Besides students, teachers at orphanages are also vulnerable to sexual abuse, but what rules in all this is silence.

The victims avoid exposing the assailants as they fear they will be kicked out of the facility and will lose shelter.

Most of the victims of such assaults at orphanages are happened to be students and teachers who have lost their parents.

“They fear they will be expelled from the orphanage if they tell the truth,” a Wolesi Jirga or lower house member recently revealed.

The female lawmaker from western Herat province, Naheed Farid, on Monday told Pajhwok Afghan News that the Wolesi Jirga was aware of an ongoing hunger strike by children at the Allauddin Orphanage in Kabul.

She said the striking children had alleged moral and financial corruption at the facility behind their strike.

The lawmaker said after she raised the issue on the assembly floor, some victims visited her and demanded investigation.

She said the orphanage’s administration had created many problems for the girls who had been silent about the situation.

“Teachers at orphanages face a lot of problems, they face sexual harassment, but they stay silent.”

She said the victims could not openly talk to a Wolesi Jirga delegation tasked with investigating the matter.

It’s a plot being hatched by Wolesi Jirga: Labor and Social Affairs Ministry

Ministry of Labor, Social Affairs, Martyrs and Disabled spokesman, Abdul Fatah Eshrat Ahmadzai, vehemently rejected the lawmaker’s claims as a conspiracy.

He said the Wolesi Jirga delegation, tasked with investigating the issue, did not find something that could substantiate Naheed Farid’s allegations.

He said the ministry did not appoint a delegation to investigate the matter after the investigation by the Wolesi Jirga delegation because the ministry was aware of the situation.

No one is allowed to enter orphanages: Labor Ministry

A Pajhwok Afghan News reporter tried to enter some of the facilities, but permission was not granted.

The labor and social affairs ministry has sent a letter to the directorate of orphanages, describing the facilities as sensitive places which need time to time attention from the ministry’s leadership.

The letter has directed the orphanages not to allow anyone to enter the facilities without bringing it into the knowledge of the ministry.

Team appointed: Attorney General Office (AGO)

AGO spokesman Jamshid Rasooli told Pajhwok Afghan News that the Presidential Palace had lately issued an order regarding the orphanages.

He said the AGO had appointed a delegation in line with the presidential order and the delegation had obtained some evidence that warranted legal action against the perpetrators.

However, he did not go into details, but said the AGO was working on the issue and the outcome of their investigation would be shared with the media.

It is said women at government-run shelter homes are also subjected to sexual harassment, but the Ministry of Women’s Affairs denies the charge.

Women’s Safe Homes director at the Ministry of Women’s Affairs, Nazia Qaizi, told Pajhwok that the homes were free from such things.

“A majority of the women kept in these facilities are those who were given in marriages to settle disputes between families,” she said.

She said the females at the safe homes had escaped from forced marriages and other forms of domestic violence.

She said the females had been brought to the safe homes by the human rights commission, the women’s affairs ministry and police and were extended support after passing all the legal phases.

She said women at the safe homes availed facilities from accommodation to health, medicine, education, counseling and defence lawyers if needed.

Currently six such facilities are operational in Kabul province and the Ministry of Women’s Affairs has always tried to improve condition of the orphanages.

The three decades of war in Afghanistan has rendered countless children orphaned and homeless.

These children prefer living in orphanages where they are also not secure and fall victims to trafficking.

The US in a report in 2016 and UNICEF have confirmed the Afghan children are sexually harassed at orphanages and sometimes fall prey to human traffickers.