United Nations: The United Nations has expressed concern over the recruitment and use of minors by armed Maoists in India and said there were credible reports that some young ones were forcibly recruited from schools.
In its latest report on children in armed conflicts, the United Nations expressed concern at the use of children by the Maoist armed groups in some districts of Chhattisgarh.
It also highlighted an incident in which Naxalites forced villagers to provide five boys and girls for their armed group in October 2009.
The annual report prepared by Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, which will be submitted to the Security Council, also noted that several credible reports indicate many children are being abducted or forcibly recruited from schools.
"The Naxals have said that children were used only as messengers and informers but have admitted that children were provided with training to use non-lethal and lethal weapons including landmines," the UN report said.
The report also pointed out that the Naxals had carried out systematic attacks on schools in order to intentionally damage and destroy government structures and to instil fear among the local community.
The investigation also highlighted that some schools
remained closed or abandoned.
"It must be noted that the Naxalite problem is spread
over several states in the centre/east of the country," it
The report also noted that the Jharkhand police had
vacated 28 of 43 schools in Naxalite-affected districts of the
state and were in the process of vacating 13 more.
"Combat is no place for children. We still live in a
world with those who would use children as spies, soldiers and
human shields," said Radhika Coomaraswamy, the top UN official
on child protection.
"The shifting nature of conflict has put many children
on the front lines. To often children become collateral damage
during military operations," she added.
The UN underlined that the Indian government had
condemned the acts of the Naxalites and has committed itself
to control those activities.
"The government, together with concerned state
authorities, had undertaken specific actions including
awareness raising programmes through the media and mass
contact, it said, citing establishment of new schools under
its programme for universal elementary education in all
villages as as well as ashram schools.