India voices concern over children's involvement in conflict

India has expressed deep concern over children increasingly getting involved in the "vicious grip" of armed conflict and said it is committed to addressing the impact of left wing extremist armed groups on its own children through law and robust policy initiatives.

United Nations: India has expressed deep concern over children increasingly getting involved in the "vicious grip" of armed conflict and said it is committed to addressing the impact of left wing extremist armed groups on its own children through law and robust policy initiatives.

"India is deeply concerned that children are getting increasingly involved in the vicious grip of armed conflict, both as targets and victims of violence and abuse. The primary responsibility for addressing this issue lies with the governments of member states of the United Nations," India's Ambassador to the UN Asoke Mukerji said at a UN Security Council session on 'Children and Armed Conflict.'

UN chief Ban Ki-moon's report on the subject has a reference to the impact of left wing extremist armed groups on children in India, which Mukerji?said is a "very serious issue" that the Indian Government has addressed as a priority.

"India believes that through a combination of development and security related interventions, the left wing extremists' problem can be tackled. We do not?underestimate the challenge, but we are committed to redress this situation through a combination of law and robust policy initiatives," he said.

On the interface of the United Nations and non-state actors, India said that since non-state actors are not bound by legal obligations and commitments, any?proposed interface with them is open-ended.

"It would be more effective for the Council to recommend the strict application of the rule of law as a deterrence to armed non-state groups, especially for the investigation and prosecution of those non-state actors who are inveigling children into armed conflict or violating the fundamental human rights of children in armed conflict with impunity," Mukerji added.

Mukerji expressed dismay that only countries from the developing world had been listed in the relevant section of the Secretary General's report.

The "selective inclusion" in the report of only countries from the developing world is "dangerous approach", he said, adding the impact of violent extremism, recruitment and radicalization of children, use of children to commit violent acts, as well as incidents of armed attacks on schools cannot be confined only to the developing world.

"These occur in developed countries, too, and need to be addressed in a global framework," he said.
He pointed out that there is need for more child protection advisors to be deployed in peacekeeping operations, saying such steps would help guaranteeing the safe return of children impacted by armed conflict, and the sustainability of their demobilization, rehabilitation and reintegration into society.  

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