India

The information below is based on the Report of the Secretary-General to the Security Council (A/69/926–S/2015/409) issued on 5 June 2015.

The recruitment and use of children as young as six years of age by armed groups, including the Naxalites, continued. According to the Ministry of Home Affairs, Naxalites in Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand and Odisha States recruited boys and girls between 6 and 12 years of age into specific children’s units. They were used as informers and taught to fight with crude weapons, such as sticks. At the age of 12, children associated with Naxalites are reportedly transferred to specific units, where they receive training in weapon handling and the use of improvised explosive devices.

In Naxalite recruitment campaigns targeting poor communities, parents are forced to offer children under the threat of violence. Similarly, children are reportedly threatened with the killing of family members should they escape or surrender to security forces. In August, in Lakhisarai district, Naxalites reportedly made demands of children from families, resulting in up to 100 girls and boys, between 10 and 15 years of age, joining the group. In West Singhbhum, government security forces reportedly arrested an armed group element for the recruitment of 11 children aged 9 to 13 years, including 5 girls, on their way to a training camp. The recruiter allegedly stated that his commander had specifically asked for girls. According to the Government, based on the statements of several women formerly associated with Naxalite groups, sexual violence is common in the camps. Violence and the use of schools as recruitment grounds affected access to education for children in Naxalite areas.

he United Nations also received reports of the recruitment and use of children in Assam and Manipur States. Children were reportedly lured into joining armed groups in the face of the lack of livelihood alternatives, but were also abducted and forcibly recruited, including through coercion of family members and the threat of violence. Concerns persist over allegations of detention of children in violence-affected states, including for alleged association with armed groups.

I am concerned by the Government reports of the use of children as human shields and in combat roles by the Naxalites. The period under review reportedly saw an increase in Naxalite violence, resulting in the killing of 89 civilians and 48 security personnel in 429 incidents in the first quarter alone. Concerns also persisted over the killing and maiming of children in north-eastern states. For example, in Assam, on 23 December, in four seemingly coordinated attacks, the National Democratic Front of Bodoland allegedly killed around 75 civilians, including at least 18 children.