United Nations: The United Nations on Saturday published a shocking report that Maoists using children to fight in Chhattisgarh and Jharkhand. In his annual report on Children in Armed Conflict, Guterres said: “Children continued to be affected by incidents of violence between armed groups and the government, in particular in Chhattisgarh and Jharkhand, as well as tensions in Jammu and Kashmir.”
“The United Nations continued to receive reports of the recruitment and use of children by armed groups, including the Naxalites, in particular in Chhattisgarh and Jharkhand,” he said.
At least 30 schools were burned and partially destroyed by armed groups in Jammu and Kashmir according to government reports, he said.
“In addition, government reports confirmed the military use of four schools by security forces in that region for several weeks.” Guterres`s report for 2016, however, shows that the prevalence of the use of children by Naxalites and other armed groups had come down to only two states compared to six in the previous year.
In the report for 2015 released last year, the then-Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon had said the Naxalites were using children as young as six in Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Maharashtra, Odisha and West Bengal. Guterres’s report covering conflicts during 2016 was sent to the Security Council on Thursday.
The report recorded far more violations against children by terrorists and other armed groups than by governments. In one incident recounted in the report, police moved 23 children threatened with abduction by armed groups in Gumla district, Jharkhand, in March 2016 and “supported their enrollment in schools”.
However, he added, “unverified reports suggest that police may be using children formerly associated with armed groups as informants, potentially making them targets for retaliation.”