May 3, 2012
A government plan to relocate an all-boys juvenile rehabilitation centre (JRC) in Kandahar, southern Afghanistan, from the city centre to a site near Sarposa prison, where top Taliban leaders are held, could expose the children to significant risk, according to observers.
The Kandahar JRC in its current site holds 20 to 55 boys at a time, some as young as seven, in cramped and insanitary conditions. According to the Child Rights Consortium (CRC), a program managed by Terre des Hommes in conjunction with Afghan NGOs, the centre “gathers a large number of youths who should not be in custody: the offence they committed is often trifling, or the legal age of detention is not respected”. It also offers no educational, vocational or recreational activities.
Other sources said the centre lacks adequate bed space and food, and there have been complaints of pilfering of some of the donations it receives. “The winter aid donations made to the centre, such as rice cookers and tables, cannot be found anywhere,” said one aid worker who makes frequent visits to the centre.
Drug use, sexual abuse and torture are reportedly ongoing problems, with guards, who are government employees, accused of providing drugs in exchange for sexual favors. Recently a boy was shot by one of the guards who was said to have had problems with the juvenile.