New York, May 10, 2002

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In the name of God, Most Compassionate, Most Merciful

Mr. President,

I have the honor to begin by delivering the statement of His Excellency Mr. Hamid Karzai, Chairman of the Interim Administration of Afghanistan, who despite his commitment to attend this Special Session on Children was unable to be present due to urgent duties in Afghanistan.

Mr. President,

The armed conflicts of the past twenty-three years have had a drastic impact on all segments of civilian society, in particular, on the lives of Afghan children. Million's of Afghanistan's children are in dire need of medical treatment. One hundred thousand of them are engaged in difficult labor with hazardous working conditions. This august Assembly is well aware of the level of impact that armed conflict can have in harming the life of children.

While the scope of the .sufferings of the Afghan children is exceptionally vast, we also bear in mind, the entrenched challenges that impact children's lives throughout the world. We are cognizant of the fact, that in many countries, children .suffer in various ways. We are hopeful that this Special Session of the General Assembly on Children, will result in adopting vital decisions towards the protection and promotion of children 's rights world-wide.

Mr. President,

In this context, the Interim Administration of Afghanistan stands committed to deploy all possible efforts aimed at achieving the aforementioned objective. It is important to note, Afghanistan alone will not succeed in overcoming the daunting challenges facing Afghan children unless we receive the assistance of the international community, United Nations and other organizations dealing with humanitarian issues.

Allow me to also mention; if Afghanistan were not liberated from the domination of terrorists and fundamentalists, no Afghan child would be ready to enroll in school. Rather, they could have been trained to serve terrorism and become an arch-enemy of their own country instead of serving their people.

Mr. President,

1 avail myself of this opportunity to convey, on behalf of the A fghan children, our deepest gratitude to those children - and their families - who expressed their solidarity by offering a token of their minimal fortune to the children of Afghanistan.

In conclusion, I would like to reiterate my best wishes for the success of this gathering and to those who have taken practical steps aimed at enhancing the well being of children throughout the world.

I thank you Mr. President Hamid Karzai

Mr. President,

At this moment, allow me to read out my own statement on this Special Session on Children:

Protection of the right's of children remains as a fundamental responsibility of human community, requiring that children be raised in a healthy environment that would ensure their spiritual and physical well-being.

With much regret, I must state that many negative changes that has transpired in our country - as a result of two and half decades of armed conflict - has had a drastic impact on the up-bringing, training and education of the future generation. In Afghanistan, there exists a generation of children who have been brought up in an atmosphere of armed conflict, deprived of education, recreational facilities and medical care. By witnessing the death of their loved ones and the loss of their material and immaterial assets, children have become victims to various psychological illnesses. Moreover, they have been forced to accept jobs requiring difficult labor and in some instances, to discharge military tasks in order to feed themselves.

As we are aware, finding a remedy to these issues will be no easy task. Therefore, it shall be a fundamental responsibility of every member of human society to attract the attention of the world's leaders in finding a solution to these major problems.

Today, our children do not have access to adequate medical care. The ground is not prepared for them to have access to recreational facilities. Thousands of children who are eligible to attend educational institutions are unable to pursue a decent level of education. There exists no sufficient number of schools or teaching facilities. In some cases, children are too old to qualify for admittance in primary schools. Hence, it is vital to open adult teaching centers that provide literary courses. In addition infant feeding centers are non-existent. We have no nurseries to provide care to children below the age of seven. There is no sufficient number of professional teachers to provide teaching in vocational institutions. The standard of education is extremely low.

Mr. President,

In order to prevent further deviation of children - many of who have lost their parents and remain without guardians - we must take necessary measures so that they are cared for. Many of these children wander in cities accepting jobs as paid trainees.

Furthermore, efforts must be rendered in providing vocational education for those who missed education and resorted to accepting military duties.

Opportunity must be provided so that children disassociate themselves from weaponry. Those who continue to suffer from various psychological illnesses as a result of the destructive war must be treated. Nationwide training and education must be provided for all children. Above all, children who commit crimes must be kept in
training centers. In these centers, they should be trained in such a way that would enable them to serve as responsible members of society. At the moment, any such center is unavailable.

We have been unable to provide these children with training facilities, medical care or housing. Currently, they are being kept in separate locations next to the quarters of adult criminals. Despite the fact that we have raised - on several occasions - this issue with the authorities and officials of the United Nations, we have yet to receive any results. Irrespective of this, we will continue to render efforts aimed at resolving these problems in our country.

Mr. President,

I would also like to mention, that subsequent to the collapse of the terrorist and anti-national regime of the Taliban and following the consolidation of the Interim Administration in the country, we have accomplished many useful tasks:

Many schools have been opened in Kabul city and in other provinces where a vast number of children are continuing their education. The total number of children who are attending various schools reached 2,010,000. The number of female students attending school has reached 673,000.

Orphan centers have also been reopened in Kabul city and other provinces. These centers accommodate many orphans in dire need, with housing and relative care. Just in Kabul city, l, 300 orphans are registered in orphan homes, including 120 girls. Two hundred additional orphans have been registered in Herat, Logar, Kapisa Badakhshan and other provinces. However, despite such progress, many other orphans  throughout the country remain unregistered. The Interim Administration has also taken initiatives to prevent the employment of children in the military sector. In addition, measures have been taken aimed at decreasing hard labor as much as possible. However, much more can and should be achieved. It is only with the assistance of the international community that we can accomplish further success with respect to the lives of children

I wish a prosperous future for all children, who are the future of our countries.

Thank you Mr. President.