New York, 8 January 2010– Ms. Radhika Coomaraswamy, Special Representative for Children and Armed Conflict, welcomes the beginning of the long-awaited discharge of nearly 3,000 young people from the Maoist cantonments in Nepal.
The first group of people who were verified as children in 2007 and as such disqualified from the Maoist army left the camp today. They were to be discharged for more than three years.
The discharge from seven cantonments across the country is scheduled to be completed in within 40 days. The young people will be given the opportunity to return to school or to gain new skills. The rehabilitation packages are provided by the Government of Nepal with the support of the United Nations.
In December 2009, the Special Representative went to Nepal to finalize the Action Plan that led to the discharge signed by the Government of Nepal, the Unified Communist Party of Nepal – Maoist (UCPN-M) and the United Nations.
The UCPN-M has been listed as a party to conflict for recruiting and using children in five Annual Reports of the Secretary-General on Children and Armed Conflict.When the party fully complies with the Action Plan, it may be removed from this list. The process will be monitored by the United Nations on the ground.
“Today, the minors who have spent the last three years in Maoist army cantonments with their lives on hold will finally be able to take the next step towards a more positive future,” said Ms. Coomaraswamy.
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