16 January 2007 Children in Nepal were still being recruited by the Communist Party (Maoist) to serve as soldiers despite last April’s ceasefire with the Government, the Secretary-General has warned in his latest report to the Security Council, calling on the Maoists to immediately end the practice and on both sides to do more to protect children’s rights.
The 18-page report, which was issued today and covers the period from 1 August 2005 to 30 September 2006, notes that the landmark Comprehensive Peace Agreement signed in November “includes provisions which commit the parties to reintegrating children associated with armed groups into their families and marks the first time this issue has been addressed within the peace process.”
Although many of the reported violations occurred prior to the ceasefire between the State and the Communist Party of Nepal-Maoist (CPN-M), “there are still serious abuses being perpetrated against children,” the report states. “A serious concern since the April 2006 ceasefire is that recruitment and use, and abductions of children by CPN-M continue.”
All concerned must fully respect international law concerning the protection of children, including in the context of the peace process, and ensure that specific provisions for children are included at all steps of the negotiations. “CPN-M must immediately end the practice of use and recruitment of children, as well as cease any new recruitment of children.”
The Secretary-General also recommends that the mandate of any further UN mission to Nepal should “explicitly incorporate child protection issues and include a specific child protection capacity” in order to help it to work more closely with the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and other agencies dealing with the issue.
Responding to the report, which was issued today along with another dealing with the problem in strife-torn Sri Lanka, the Special Representative for Children and Armed Conflict Radhika Coomaraswamy, said both documents show the ongoing attempt by the world body to end the global scourge of recruiting children as soldiers, along with other violations of children in times of conflict.
“The reports are important because they are part of the UN family’s attempt to end impunity for crimes, especially grave violations against children, and especially that relating to the recruitment and use of children as child soldiers,” she told the UN News Service.
“What we seek is commitment on behalf of the main parties to move swiftly and effectively, especially in the area of not recruiting child soldiers and to make commitments to UNICEF and other UN agencies for the immediate release of children under their charge, under an action plan [which UNICEF has].”
Ms. Coomaraswamy’s office said the report, like the one on Sri Lanka, will now be examined by the Security Council Working Group on Children and Armed Conflict at its February meeting.