FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: U.N. Official Condemns Taliban's Use of 8-Year-Old Girl as Suicide Bomber
Jun 30, 2011 at 10:23 am
June 30, 2011 – NEW YORK – On June 27, 2011, Radhika Coomaraswamy, Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Children and Armed Conflict, and the U.N. Assistance Mission in Afghanistanreleased statements condemning the recent manipulation of an 8-year-old girl to carry out a suicide bomb attack and a separate attack on a hospital in Afghanistan. To our knowledge, this is the fourth time the U.N. has condemned the use of children as suicide bombers, a phenomenon that has existed since at least 2000.
In southern Afghanistan's Oruzgan province, the 8-year old girl, recruited by the Taliban, unknowingly carried the bomb wrapped in cloth as she walked toward a police vehicle, at which point insurgents remotely detonated the bomb. This is the latest in a series of incidents where children have been used by various organizations, including the Taliban, as suicide bombers. Ms. Coomaraswamy's office said, "The disgraceful act of putting a bomb in a little girl's basket and sending her, unknowing, to kill, is almost unimaginable."
A second attack outside a hospital in eastern Afghanistan's Logar province left 37 killed and 53 wounded, with much of the damage located in the maternity ward. Ms. Coomaraswamy noted, "Attacks on hospitals are two-fold atrocities. Not only do they kill and wound girls and boys, they leave thousands of women and children without access to treatment."
Previous statements from U.N. officials condemning the manipulation of children to execute suicide bombings include the following:
The Children's Rights Institute supports the U.N.'s vocal opposition to the widespread and illegal indoctrination and recruitment of children to propagate violent terrorist agendas. This is a significant step forward in recognizing and bringing attention to the use of children as suicide bombers and the harmful effect of suicide attacks on children, both atrocious human rights abuses. Additionally, CRI applauds U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon's recent recommendation in the Annual Report on Children and Armed Conflict, which discusses the possibility of adding the issue of attacks on schools and hospitals to the List of Shame.
However, there remains to be any U.N. resolution emanating from the Human Rights Council or General Assembly on the subject and UNRWA, the arm of the U.N. responsible for providing education in the Palestinian territories, continues to use textbooks that glorify hate and violence. CRI encourages additional action aimed at raising awareness of these and other violations of children's basic human rights and hopes the U.N. will continue to devote attention and resources to these young victims.