Ex Maoist child soldiers padlock Maoist central office (with photos)Expressing their discontent with the party for discarding them unceremoniously during the peace process, former Maoist child soldiers on Monday padlocked the Maoist Central Office at Perisdanda in Kathmandu to press, demanding proper reintegration.
Expressing their discontent with the party for discarding them unceremoniously during the peace process, former Maoist child soldiers on Monday padlocked the Maoist Central Office at Perisdanda in Kathmandu to press, demanding proper reintegration.
The Discharged People’s Liberation Army Struggle Committee (DPLASC), an organisation of former child soldiers, claim they will continue to padlock the Central Office until the party, which is currently at the helm of government, starts implementing past agreements to help reintegrate them into the society.
“We lost our childhood fighting for the party. Now our leaders enjoy the power while we are struggling to cope with the life after the war. We want to draw their attention towards our plight,” said Lenin Bista, president of the (DPLASC), adding that they will continue to padlock the office until the party fulfills their demands.
The United Nations Mission in Nepal (UNMIN) had disqualified 4,008 soldiers of the then rebel CPN (Maoist) combatants as minors, and as late recruits. During the verification process that ended in December 2007, it was found that 2,972 Maoist guerrillas were child soldiers, while 1,036 were recruited after the peace accord was signed in 2006.
However, the Maoist leadership delayed their release. The “disqualified” child soldiers spent three years in different cantonments in hope of better rehabilitation package.
“We are a young and strong force that has the experience of using war weapons but our strength has not been properly challenged. We want reintegration as per the national and international laws related to child soldiers,” added Bista.
Nepal is a state party to the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child. Coincidently the Maoists party runs the government at present and these former child combatants want the state to act as per the international law.
Around two hundred disqualified former child soldiers many with young children carrying ply cards saying ‘we too fought to bring change in the country but now we have been dumped’.
They have demanded prosecution of the state and rebel parties for recruiting child soldiers during the insurgency and treating the discharged minors as the Maoist People’s Liberation Army. Former child combatants have also have an issue with the ‘disqualified’ tag attracted to them and want it removed.