ACHR director Suhas Chakma, said, “The recruitment of child soldiers by armed groups, including Naxalites, is rampant and at least 3,000 children, i.e. 500 in the northeast and Jammu and Kashmir and about 2,500 in Naxal-affected states, currently remain involved in armed conflicts. This estimate is conservative considering that the Maoists follow a policy of forcibly recruiting at least one cadre from each adivasi family.”
This report, which is the first-ever comprehensive study on the subject in the country, has accused the Centre of defending the records of the armed opposition groups, officially designated as terrorist groups, on the recruitment of child soldiers before the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child. “India, in its first report to the UN Committee in 2011 on the implementation of the optional protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on the Involvement of Children in Armed Conflict stated that there is no recruitment of child soldiers even by the armed groups in India,” the report states.
“India in its first report on the implementation of the optional protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on the Involvement of Children in Armed Conflict to the UN Committee in 2011 stated that there is no recruitment of child soldiers, including by the armed groups in India,” the ACHR report states.
The ACHR, besides citing 11 cases of forcible recruitment of child soldiers by the armed groups, presented a number of photographs of child soldiers surrendering with their arms before then Home Minister P Chidambaram and Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi in 2011 and 2012.
The Asian Centre for Human Rights urged the Government of India to inquire as to why the recruitment of child soldiers by the officially designated terror groups was concealed from the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child and take appropriate actions against the officials who are effectively ended up whitewashing the records of the armed groups on the recruitment of child soldiers.”
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