UN envoy wants child soldiers released

Kathmandu, November 29:

Pointing at the peace process currently underway in Nepal, Radhika Coomaraswamy, special representative of the secretary-general for Children and Armed Conflict, has expressed hope that children associated with fighting forces will be released immediately.

Coomaraswamy made this remark while presenting the sixth annual report of the secretary-general on Children and Armed Conflict in the presence of UN secretary-general Kofi Annan at the Open Debate on Children and Armed Conflict in New York yesterday.

The Security Council Working Group will examine six country reports namely Burundi, Cote D’Ivoire, Democratic Republic of Congo, Sudan, Sri Lanka and Nepal in 2006, a statement said.

According to the statement, the report lists parties, which recruit or use children as armed combatants.

It also reports on five other grave abuses and violations against children in armed conflict as well as on the monitoring and reporting mechanism implemented in seven pilot countries pursuant to resolution 1612 (2005).

After the passing of Security Council resolution 1612, parties have been approached to enter into action plans to demobilise child soldiers.

Commitments have been made by parties in Cote D’Ivoire, Burundi, Myanmar and Uganda. “We hope to consolidate these gains by ensuring that we move beyond good intentions to actually facilitating the formulation of action plans and the timely release of children so that they may be reintegrated into their respective societies,” Coomaraswamy said.

For the Democratic Republic of Congo and Sudan, recommendations of concrete actions the Security Council can take to protect children have already been made to the Council. “It has enhanced constructive dialogue, at all levels, with the member-states concerned for the benefit of the war-affected children,” Radhika Coomaraswamy said in her statement to the Security Council.