Impact of Covid-19 on the Human Rights Situation of Children in Afghanistan

Report Summary

Based on the findings of this report and the data provided by the Ministry of Public Health (26 September 2020), 1,126 people (2.9%) of the 38,641 people infected with Coronavirus (Covid-19) in Afghanistan were children. Of these, 85 (7.5%) were under seven years old, 190 (16.9%) were under 13 years old and another 851 (75.6%) were under 19 years old. The data also indicate that 6 (0.53%) of the 1,126 children infected with this disease have died, including one girl and five boys.

The study also found that Coronavirus awareness programs and Coronavirus prevention measures, especially for children, have had some problems. For example, during the first month of 1399, 29% of the residents of Faryab Province did not have access to the necessary information.


Covid-19 Pandemic and Children’s Nutritional Status

According to the study by Save the Children, [1] the number of malnourished children has increased after the Coronavirus outbreak, and 2.9 million children under five are suffering from acute malnutrition [2].

The findings of Save the Children also show that “before the Covid-19 Pandemic, 5.26 million children in Afghanistan needed humanitarian assistance; but with the outbreak of the Virus, 8.12 million children now require humanitarian assistance.”[3]


Children’s Access to Education during the Covid-19 Pandemic

Save the Children’s findings show that during the Covid-19 pandemic almost 10 million children didn’t have access to school [4]. The Ministry of Education’s online program was not very effective and many students were unable to use this program due to family poverty, lack of internet availability, and lack of electricity for telephones and computers.

According to this study, of 102 schools, including 89 public schools and 13 private schools, which completed the questionnaire, only five (5.6%) public schools and 11 (84.6%) private schools, have been able to offer online educational programs during quarantine and school closures; thus, 84 (94.4%) public schools, and two (15.4%) private schools, confirmed that they have been unable to offer online educational services during the quarantine period.

Based on the findings of this study, all schools that completed the questionnaire, both public and private, followed their curricula from the beginning of the textbooks.


Violence against Children during Quarantine

According to the Commission's database, the level of violence against children in the first six months of this year, during the quarantine period, was 141 cases, indicating a 13.5% decrease compared to the first six months of 1398, with 163 cases registered. Data from the Ministry of Interior also show that there have been 30 cases of violence against children during the quarantine, indicating a decrease of 68.4% compared to first six months in which 95 cases of violence against children were recorded. This reduction may be due to limitations on travel and movement during the quarantine period, which restricted victims’ opportunity to go to the judiciary and register the case, while the actual level of violence against children may have been much higher.

According to the Ministry of Interior, 9.6% of violence against children has been committed by their parents, 12% by other family members, and 78.4% by non-family members.


Covid-19 Pandemic and Increased Number of Working Children

According to the Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs (Child Protection Secretariat) data there have been 2.1 million working children before the Coronavirus crisis, of which 1.3 million were engaged in hard labor, but this figure has risen dramatically since the outbreak of Coronavirus, and the overall number of working children has reached 2.5 million, of whom 1.5 million are engaged in hard labor [5].


Children in Correction Centers

The study showed that before the Coronavirus crisis, there were 746 children in child correction centers across the country, of whom 27 (3.6%) were girls and 719 (96.4%) were boys. During the Coronavirus crisis, according to the President's Decree on the release of some prisoners and detainees due to the Coronavirus outbreak, 294 (39.4%) were released, of whom 3 (1%) were girls and the rest, 291 (99%) were boys.


Impact of Covid-19 Pandemic on Children in Orphanages

The findings of this study show that of 9,794 children who were in orphanages before the Coronavirus outbreak, 8,133 of them were handed over to their families or relatives, and only 1,661 of them remained and were quarantined in the orphanages.



  1. The Covid-19 pandemic and the quarantine period have seriously damaged the educational process and the psychological state of children. Therefore, it is suggested that the Government of Afghanistan, in addition to building the health capacity to resolve the psychological problems of children in clinics and hospitals, should also compensate for the delay in children’s education by careful planning.
  2.  It is suggested that the Government of Afghanistan increase the number of Covid-19 registration and diagnostic centers across the country and increase the capacity to help children and mothers suspected of having covid-19, especially during a pandemic crisis.
  3. Our findings in this study show that the Afghan Government has not been able to provide children (victims of violence) with access to responsible institutions during crisis and quarantine; consequently, few children have been able to file complaints. It is therefore suggested that the responsible institutions review their approach for reacting to critical circumstances and provide the necessary guarantees for public access to the responsible institutions for registering complaints and advocacy.
  4. Given the adverse impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on the human rights situation of children, it is proposed that the Government of Afghanistan should provide enough funding to child protection institutions to enhance public awareness, especially children, of the dangers of Coronavirus. Also, make appropriate plans and programs to prevent the spread of this disease.







[5] - Telephone interview with the Head of the Child Protection Secretariat of the Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs. 17, 8, 1399