Concerned stakeholders said, the use of child soldiers during the armed conflict is a gross human rights violation.
Speaking at an interaction program “Use of child soldiers, conflict justice and social economic integration: international practice” organized by Discharged people’s Liberation Army of Nepal on December 22, concerned stakeholders stated that involving children in armed conflict by providing military training is contrary to international principle of recognition.
Informal Sector Service Centre (INSEC), chairman Subodh Raj Pyakurel said, the word ‘ineligible’ insults the discharged combatants who were used as army due to the political situation and which issue was not prioritized in the past. He stated about the serious human rights violation by rebel Maoists using the child soldiers even though the country and the rebel expressed commitment to comply with international norms in the war period.
He said, the future of those armed conflict era children who were used as child soldier providing military training still has no clear future and if they are not provided justice according to international laws, it can create a difficult situation. The strength of country like Nepal is democratic rule of law and stressed on protecting it. He drew the attention stating that, those involved in using of child soldiers should be taken into account else the issue may reach to international level in order to address it.
A member of Truth and Reconciliation Commission, Sri Krishna Subedi said the issue raised by the Dicharged people’s Liberation Army of Nepal is valid but they do not have any basis to address the subject matter. He pointed about the necessity to amend the Commission act in order to clarify the subject of child military. However, he said, the Commission is serious about this issue and is seeking consultation for the way forward.
Member of the commission to investigate the disappeared person Dr. Bishnu Pathak mentioned about the probable intervention that can happen by other countries due to country’s unstable politics and never ending transition. It is necessary to have unity among us to deliver justice to the victim and to stop growing intervention and not to give advantage to other country to intervene in our internal affairs.
Human rights defender Charan Prasain stated that the group using child military should take the responsibility of discharged soldiers affiliated with People’s Liberation Army of Nepal. He pointed that the human rights community is in the favor of addressing the problem within the territory considering the subject matter as a national issue and not to let such mistakes happen again.
Human rights activist as well as conflict victim Ram Kumar Bhandari accused of obscuring the issues of former Maoist combatants in the name of peace agreement. He said the government should look at the economic and social integration of the forced child soldier.
Professor Dr. Simon said, the children abused in war period should be made available with social rehabilitation, phyco-social counseling, financial arrangements and arrangements of education to support gender equality. He considered the issue of rehabilitation of children, disarmament and human rights as a subject of serious challenge. Those involved in the use of child soldiers should be brought under the laws which would be easy with the signing of International Rome Statute, said Dr. Simon.