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Afghan children's health, educations at risk, U.N. report says

By Ed Adamczyk
Afghan children's health, educations at risk, U.N. report says
Female students attend classes at Sultan Raza High School in Balkh province, Afghanistan. A United nations report said children's health care and educations are suffering in Afghanistan because of conflict-related violence,. Photo by Shehzad Noorhin/United Nations

KABUL, Afghanistan, April 18 (UPI) -- Children in Afghanistan are losing access to education and healthcare because of conflict-related violence, a U.N. report released Monday says.

The report, which studied Afghan issues between 2013 and 2015, said conflict, largely between the Taliban and government forces, impacted teachers and healthcare workers, and limited children's access to education and healthcare. It cited sharp increases in violence in 2015, when 20 health care workers were killed, 46 were injured and 60 abducted in 125 incidents; 11 education personnel were also killed, 15 were injured and 49 abducted in 132 incidents in 2015.

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"The report's findings are deeply troubling. It is simply unacceptable for teachers, doctors and nurses to be subjected to violence or threats, and for schools and medical facilities to be misused or attacked. All parties must take measures to protect education and health services in Afghanistan," said Nicholas Haysom, the U.N. Secretary-General's Special Representative for Afghanistan.

Conflict-related violence closed or partially closed more than 369 schools in Afghanistan in 2015, affecting more than 600 teachers and 139,000 students, the report said. It added that girls were particularly at risk, noting intimidation and overt prohibitions against their formal education.

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The report was jointly produced by UNICEF and the U.N. Assistance Mission in Afghanistan.

"Conflict-related violence not only puts Afghan children at risk of harm, but also limits their fundamental rights to education and healthcare," said Danielle Bell, UNAMA human rights director. "Efforts must be redoubled to enable children, particularly girls, free and safe access to medical services and education."

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