UN wants mechanism to monitor former child soldiers in Nepal | World News - Hindustan Times
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UN wants mechanism to monitor former child soldiers in Nepal

Hindustan Times | ByUtpal Parashar/HT Correspondent, Kathmandu
Nov 27, 2010 03:55 PM IST

Stating that there were still challenges in implementing the action plan to rehabilitate former child soldiers in Nepal, the United Nations has called for creation of a separate mechanism.

Stating that there were still challenges in implementing the action plan to rehabilitate former child soldiers in Nepal, the United Nations has called for creation of a separate mechanism.

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The UN proposal comes amid allegations that despite the official discharge of thousands of former child soldiers as per the action plan, many of them are still under command of the Maoist army.

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A UN team on visit to Nepal mentioned the concern to the Maoist leadership who in turn has agreed to verify the allegations on the field.

“This will be a matter that will be dealt with by the mechanism that will be established,” Claude Heller, Chairperson of the Security Council working group on children and armed conflict said here on Friday.

He stressed that the commitment made by Maoists not to have any contact with the discharged child soldiers will have to be respected.

Following the peace deal signed in 2006, nearly 19000 Maoist combatants are living in UN monitored cantonments. A 2007 survey found that 4008 of them were minors (30% of them girls).

But despite UN pressure, the release of these child soldiers was not taken seriously by Nepal government and the Maoist leadership. It took signing of an action plan in December last year to speed up the process.

The discharge process began in January this year by which time nearly 3500 of these soldiers had attained 18 years of age.

After their discharge, the minors were to be provided education, health, business and vocational training by UN bodies to lead normal lives.

Although the Maoist leadership was to distance itself from the child soldiers after their discharge, it is alleged that several minors are still living in cantonments at Dhangadi and Attaraiya.

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