Issue of child soldiers to be taken up with Centre
Shillong: The issue of child soldiers being used by militant outfits in Meghalaya and Manipur would be taken up with the Centre by National Commission for Protection of Child Rights.
"We will take suo moto cognisance and raise the issue with the union home secretary and seek appropriate actions in this regard," Commission member Yogesh Dube told reporters here after reviewing the status of child rights in Meghalaya on Saturday.
Terming the matter of child soldiers as 'serious', he said the Government should ensure that action is taken at all levels to ensure that children be given their rights to life, education and health services.
Garo National Liberation Army (GNLA) in Meghalaya has been recruiting children in its fold and more than a hundred of them are at its camps in the jungle in Garo Hills, Meghalaya police said.
In trouble-torn Manipur, several militant organisations reportedly having children as soldiers.
The Commission said senior concerned officers in Meghalaya, Assam, Arunachal Pradesh and Manipur would be pulled up for violation of child rights.
The Commission members during their three-day visit to Meghalaya said it should be ensured that no children were employed in mines in the state and stressed on the need to focus more on labour, mining and education.
During their tour of coal mines in Jaintia Hills districts in Meghalaya, they found that some of them flouted labour norms and safety standards and provided no health care facilities.
Dube asked the tribal mine owners to address the health and safety issues of its workers and said he would raise the issue with the union ministry of labour and with the Director General of Safety Mines to ensure that minimum safety standards are followed in the state's coal mines.
During an interaction with members of civil society and NGOs and the Commission, the issue of childrights in stone and limestone quarries in other districts of the state also came under the scanner.
The state government had yesterday handed over to the Commission the action taken report (ATR) on recommendations made by it during its visit to the state in November.