Ex-child combatants vow to continue their protestFormer Maoist child combatants have returned to the ruling party CPN (Maoist Centre) headquarters soon after their release from police detention.
Former Maoist child combatants have returned to the ruling party CPN (Maoist Centre) headquarters soon after their release from police detention.
On Tuesday morning, around 100 former child soldiers, who had padlocked the Maoists headquarters in Perisdanda, were rounded up by police and detained at Metropolitan Police Circle Singha Durbar, Mahendra Police Health Club and Police Circle Teku.
“We will continue our protest at Perisdanda. We have assembled from all over the country and we have nowhere to go.
Moreover, most of our friends have come with small children and they need a proper shelter,” said Lenin Bista, the leader of the former combatants who were disqualified to join the Nepal Army for being under age.
Riled with the party for using them during the war and discarding them unceremoniously after the peace process, the former child combatants have unified as the Discharged People’s Liberation Army Struggle Committee and are demanding justice as per international practice for violating their child rights.
The committee had padlocked the CPN (Maoist Centre) office on Monday demanding justice for violation of their child right and proper reintegration.
Nepal is a party to the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child. They demand prosecution of the state and the rebel parties for recruiting child soldiers during the insurgency and treating the discharged minors as the Maoist ‘People’s Liberation Army’.
The UN Mission in Nepal had disqualified 4,008 soldiers of the then rebel CPN (Maoist) army as minors, and as late recruits.
During the verification that ended in December 2007, 2,972 guerrillas were found to be minors, while 1,036 were recruited after the peace accord was signed in 2006.
Many of them are drawn by the prospect of a decent future and reintegration package that will help them go back to the society in a dignified way.
“We lost our childhood fighting a bloody war we shouldn’t have,” said Mamata (party name). “Even as the party we fought for now runs the country, we have no education, job. We want a solution to this issue.”