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Kazakhstan Helps Kids Affected By Armed Conflict

By Aybulat Musaev February 28, 2019

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Kazakhstan’s officials say that a new approach to the reintegration of children will not only contribute to their successful return to normal life but also provide an opportunity for children to serve their societies as the “envoys of positive change.”

Central Asia’s largest country is taking a leadership role in helping children affected by war.

“Kazakhstan supports all international initiatives aimed at ensuring the safety and well-being of children, which is our most valuable asset, and especially those affected by the conflicts,” Kazakhstan’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations in New York, Ambassador Kairat Umarov, said on Monday while meeting with representatives from the United Nations’ Group of Friends on children and armed conflict.

Kazakhstan co-chairs the group – one of five UN Groups of Friends – along with France and Malta.

The one-day meeting in New York earlier this week brought together officials from the United Nations member countries, the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF), the World Bank and various non-governmental organizations including Forest Whitaker, an Oscar-winning American actor who heads an NGO dealing with children’s reintegration in Uganda and South Sudan.

“My message at @UN today - we should not consider children affected by conflict only as victims or perpetrators. With education, with vocational trainings and healing support, they can be reintegrated and become catalysts in the creation of positive change,” Whitaker wrote on his official Twitter page after the meeting.

The UN Group of Friends on children and armed conflict is part of the Global Reintegration Coalition that was established by the United Nations in 2018. Over the past few years, additional Groups of Friends have been established in Geneva, Afghanistan, the Philippines, the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Sudan.

The Coalition’s ultimate goal is to develop new, more effective approaches to returning to normal life those children affected by armed conflict, including children born to former soldiers recruited by terrorist organizations. To tackle the problem, the Coalition has brought together world-famous scientists and experts from around the world. At the same time, the groups help member states coordinate their action.

Kazakhstan’s officials say that a new approach to the reintegration of children will not only contribute to their successful return to normal life but also provide an opportunity for children to serve their societies as the “envoys of positive change.”

The Caspian and Central Asia regions country has long been promoting measures aimed at alleviating the plight of children living in conflict situations, their reintegration, and rehabilitation, as well as ensuring access to education and health care.

“While heading the UN Security Council in 2017-2018, our country actively participated in the activities of the Council and its subsidiary bodies in this area. Kazakhstan also allocates funds for the implementation of joint projects with UNICEF for the reintegration and rehabilitation of children in Afghanistan,” reads a statement published on the official website of the Kazakh Foreign Ministry.

The government in Astana is aiming to help Afghanistan integrate into the regional economy, political and social life. In 2010, Kazakhstan launched a $50 million scholarship program for Afghan students. As of 2018, hundreds of students received higher education in areas such as health care, agriculture and engineering, among other sectors of the economy.