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UN says US killed, held hundreds of children

07 February, 2013

KABUL: Expressing "deep concern" at the arrest and detention of children in Afghanistan, the United Nations (UN) Committee on the Rights of the Child in its report on Tuesday said it was "alarmed" at reports of the deaths of hundreds of children from US attacks and air strikes in Afghanistan.

The committee raised a number of concerns regarding US practices during armed conflict that were harmful to children, Human Rights Watch said.

The committee said it was "alarmed" at reports of the deaths of hundreds of children from US attacks and air strikes in Afghanistan since the committee last reviewed US practices in 2008.

It also expressed "deep concern" at the arrest and detention of children in Afghanistan, laws that exclude former child soldiers from securing asylum in the US, and presidential waivers to US laws that have allowed governments using child soldiers to receive US military assistance.

"The US can and should do more to protect children affected by armed conflict," said Jo Becker, children's rights advocacy director at Human Rights Watch. "The US should take decisive action on the child rights committee's common-sense recommendations."

"US forces have detained hundreds of children in Afghanistan, holding many of them for over a year with inadequate access to legal assistance, education, or rehabilitation services," the UN report said, adding" Children under 18 have been detained with adults, contrary to international standards."

"Although most of these children have been transferred to Afghan custody, Human Rights Watch expressed concern that such children may be subject to torture. UN reports have documented torture of numerous children by Afghan security forces," the report said.

Children, including women, have been killed in operations of the foreign forces in Afghanistan at times.

Often the foreign forces don't take responsibility for their killing. Sometimes they accept responsibility for such incidents, demanding apology. In fact, such apologies cannot heal the wounds of the deceased's parents.

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