Former child soldiers announce protest plan

- Post Report, Kathmandu

Nov 7, 2016-

Former Maoist fighters have announced to hold “peaceful protests” to draw the attention of the government and the stakeholders to “our plight”.

The Discharged People’s Liberation Army Struggle Committee, an organisation of former child soldiers, in a statement on Sunday appealed to the public to support their struggle for justice.

“We want recognition of our contribution to political change and reintegration of the discharged child soldiers into the society,” read the statement.

They have demanded prosecution of the state and rebel parties for recruiting child soldiers during the insurgency, treating the discharged minors as the Maoist ‘People’s Liberation Army’, removing the label of ‘disqualified’ and a social and financial package for their robbed childhood and education.

The United Nations Mission in Nepal (UNMIN) had disqualified 4,008 soldiers of the then rebel CPN (Maoist) army 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. “The Maoist leadership failed us,” said Lenin Bista, chairperson of the committee.

Published: 07-11-2016 08:21

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