Rights and Children
Rights and Children
CHILDREN DEVASTATED BY RAGING ARMED CONFLICT CALL FOR IMMEDIATE
Watchlist, 26 January 2005
raging armed conflict in Nepal is devastating the nation's young people,
who are being killed, maimed and subjected to many other violations of
their security and rights, according to a new report by the Watchlist on
Children and Armed Conflict. The report, Caught in the Middle: Mounting
Violations Against Children in Nepal's Armed Conflict, Publications the dangerous
reality for children in Nepal, which has been deteriorating since the end
of the cease-fire in 2003 and calls for immediate action to stop these
abuses and an end to impunity enjoyed by those who commit them.
lives are not being spared - not by the Maoists and not by the government
armed forces," said Julia Freedson, Director of the Watchlist, a network
of non-governmental organisations based in New York. "In so many instances,
Nepal's children are getting caught in the cross-fire, and even worse,
they are being deliberately used and exploited by those who are waging
calls for immediate action to stop the spectrum of violations against children
in the context of armed conflict, including killing, maiming, torture,
rape and other forms of sexual violence, attacks on schools, abduction,
trafficking, forced labor, underage recruitment into fighting forces, forced
displacement, death and injury from landmines, and others.
and foremost, the government and the Maoists must take immediate steps
to halt violations against children," said Kathleen Hunt, CARE International's
UN Representative and Chairperson of the Watchlist. "They must uphold international
human rights and humanitarian laws, particularly the Convention on the
Rights of the Child."
is no time to waste. The UN Security Council will take up its annual review
of the appalling conditions for children and armed conflict next month.
It must act now - along with other high-level members of the international
community - to provide the essential resources and potential remedies necessary
to protect Nepal's children before their precarious situation deteriorates
any further," Hunt said.
report, released today at an event attended by UN High Commissioner for
Human Rights Louise Arbour, in Kathmandu, Nepal (Shanker Hotel, Lazimpat,
Kathmandu), presents the most comprehensive assessment to date on the situation
of children caught in armed conflict in Nepal. It provides the international
community, and particularly the UN Security Council, with detailed evidence
of abuses being committed against children by both parties to the armed
in the Middle includes evidence gathered by a wide network of child protection
groups in Nepal, and Publications alarming patterns of children being systematically
denied their rights, such as the right to education as a result of the
Maoists' strikes (bandhs), destruction of schools, school closures and
overcrowding and the pervasive atmosphere of fear and violence. The Watchlist
network has Publicationed several cases of Maoists targeting schools for attacks
and using schools as grounds for abduction and recruitment of tens of thousands
of students and teachers. One of the worst examples of this basic breach
of children's rights is a gunfight between government armed forces and
Maoists at the Shree Sharada Higher Secondary School in Doti district in
October 2003, during which government armed forces killed four students.
want to see more books, not bullets; more benches, not bunkers and are
in need of additional caring trained teachers, who will not be taken away
from the school," said Udaya Manandhar, International Save the Children
U.S. Program Director in Nepal. Watchlist's report makes urgent recommendations
to the government of Nepal, the Maoists, the UN Security Council, UN country
team and humanitarian community in Nepal and to donors to take immediate
action to protect Nepali children and adolescents from any further abuses.
Watchlist on Children and Armed Conflict is a network of NGOs dedicated
to monitoring and reporting on violations against children in armed Conflict.
The Watchlist is managed by a Steering Committee of leaders in child protection,
including CARE International, the Coalition to Stop the Use of Child Soldiers,
the Norwegian Refugee Council, the International Save the Children Alliance,
the Women's Commission for Refugee Women and Children, and World Vision.
Watchlist has worked with other local and international organisations on
the preparation of this report.