Kathmandu, Nepal (BBN)– A Security Council working group on Friday reported significant progress on the release and reintegration of thousands of Nepalese child soldiers who fought in the decade-long civil war between the then-royalist government and Maoist insurgents.
During “a very constructive” week-long visit, the Working Group for children and armed conflict conferred with the government and the Unified Communist Party of Nepal-Maoist (UCPN-M) on the Action Plan the two signed with the United Nations last December for the re-integration of minors released by the Maoist army.
“I am particularly pleased to report on the commitments that the UCPN (Maoist) and other political party officials made during our discussions,” Mexican Ambassador Claude Heller, chairman of the Working Group, told reporters in Kathmandu on Friday.
“The Working Group feels these commitments constitute a significant step in the right direction for the children and youth of Nepal,” he said, citing UPCN-M Chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal’s agreement to significantly strengthen coordination with the UN to monitor implementation of the Action Plan so as to address remaining challenges in its execution.
Under this agreement, the UN Monitoring Team will meet with the UCPN-M on a regular basis to address the concerns that have been reported.
On talks with the government, Mr. Heller noted that the Ministry of Peace and Reconstruction pledged to press for Cabinet approval and speedy implementation of the national plan to rehabilitate and reintegrate child solders and other conflict-affected children.
Chairmen of political youth wings agreed to work with the UN to find ways to end the use of children below the age of 18 in potentially violent political activities and to exclude schools, school children and school personnel from strikes and other work actions.
BBN/SI/AD-27Nov10-12:25 pm (BST)