UNICEF urges all to help reintegrate conflict-hit kids

Kathmandu, November 14:

UNICEF has urged all parties to the peace process in Nepal to abide by international instruments and to put the interest of children first during all stages of the peace accord.

A statement issued by UNICEF has urged to focus on the return and reintegration of all children associated with armed forces.

“We are extremely concerned that children below 18, who have been associated with armed forces and armed groups in Nepal, have not yet been returned or reintegrated with their families and communities,” said Dr Suomi Sakai, UNICEF Representative for Nepal. “The removal of children from armed forces and armed groups is imperative from a legal, human rights and humanitarian perspective.”

“The CPN-Maoists have agreed to disarm and be contained in cantonments, and the Nepali Army, likewise, have agreed to be confined in their barracks. At this stage, the peace agreement should specify special provisions for handing over children associated with armed forces and armed groups to child protection agencies. This should be initiated from the very early stages, when the children are brought into the cantonments and camps,” the statement issued yesterday said.

“All children should be reached, whether they are boys or girls, irrespective of whether they were combatants or non-combatants and whether they were conscripted or had joined voluntarily,” said Dr Sakai. “Girls, unaccompanied and disabled children associated with armed forces and groups need special attention.”