KATHMANDU, Nov 29: Former Maoist child combatants who were disqualified from the army integration process during verification by the UN have threatened to launch a legal battle against the government for their rights.
Speaking at an interaction entitled “Use of child soldiers in war: international practices and domestic remedy”, former child soldier, Asim Limbu, who now leads the Discharged People’s Liberation Army Nepal (D-PLAN) Struggle Committee said they are working to take the Nepal government to the Supreme Court.
“We have been fighting for our rights for several years now, and will continue to do so. This event is a first step toward filing a public interest litigation at the Supreme Court,” said Limbu.
The group had earlier warned that it would knock the door of the International Criminal Court in Hague if Nepal government does not give justice to the former child soldiers.
Limbu said former child soldiers living in the districts are facing severe livelihood problems.
In 2007, over 4,008 ex-child soldiers were disqualified by the United Nations in course of integrating and rehabilitating the then Maoist combatants.
At the interaction organized by the Committee in collaboration with Nepal Peace building Initiatives Thursday, Yogya Bahadur Karki, the vice-chairman of D-PLAN, said the interaction was organized to ensure that the children will not be used in conflicts in the future; to understand the international practices in child soldiers management; to know what legal as well as human rights provisions are there in Nepal against the use of child soldiers; and to discuss how to launch a legal fight to ensure their rights.
Referring to the international human rights obligations of Nepal as per the Geneva Conventions and the Optional Protocols, Convention on the Rights of Child and ILO Convention 182, advocate Om Prakash Aryal warned that the state’s goodwill in the international arena will soon erode if it can’t resolve the issues associated with the recruitment and use of children in Nepal’s decade-long armed insurgency.
Former member of the Commission of Investigation on Enforced Disappeared Persons Bishnu Pathak, however, suggested the stakeholders attempt to resolve the issue locally although the Hague option is always there.