NEPAL: Time Is Of The Essence For Minors In Maoist Cantonments

New York, 13 October 2009 – The Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Children and Armed Conflict, Ms. Radhika Coomaraswamy, appealed for swift and orderly release of the 2,973 Maoist army personnel identified as minors during a verification process completed in 2007. "These children have a right to start their lives anew and help to build a peaceful and prosperous Nepal. The United Nations and its partners stand ready to provide support and assistance for their successful rehabilitation into Nepali society."

The Special Representative welcomed the re-launching of the discharge and rehabilitation process for Maoist army personnel identified as minors today following earlier conversations with the Prime Minster of Nepal, Madhav Kumar Nepal and the Unified Communist Party of Nepal – Maoist (UCPN-M) Chairman, Pushpa Kamal Dahal "Prachanda". Ms. Coomaraswamy noted that Chairman Prachanda had given her assurances that the discharge and orderly rehabilitation of the remaining Maoist minors in the cantonments would proceed immediately. She called on all parties to ensure that the process proceeds smoothly and is completed at the earliest in compliance with international standards. "I look forward to visiting Nepal in the coming weeks to witness for myself the discharge of these minors," stated Ms. Coomaraswamy.

The commitment of the Government of Nepal and the UCPN-M to move forward on the issue of discharge of minors is in line with the Comprehensive Peace Agreement and Security Council resolutions 1539 (2004) and 1612 (2005) as well as the Council's recommendations on Children and Armed Conflict.

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For further information, please contact: Laurence Gérard, Communications Officer, Office of the Special Representative of the Secretary General for Children and Armed Conflict – +1212-963-0984– gerardl@un.org