- 21 Apr 2016 | 21:12pm
- NABIN KHATIWADA
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Photo: Lenin Bista’s facebook Lenin Bista was just 12 years old and a sixth grader when he was recruited by the then CPN (Maoist) in 2002 to fight in the insurgency. This picture was taken at a UN-monitored camp in Shaktikhor, Chitwan around 2006.Seek action against govt, UNMIN for turning blind eye
KATHMANDU, April 22: The Discharged People’s Liberation Army Struggle Committee, the association of Maoist combatants who were termed ‘disqualified’ during the peace process, has filed a complaint at the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) demanding action against the then leadership of the CPN (Maoist) [present day UCPN (Maoist)] for exploiting them as child soldiers.
On behalf of the 4,009 discharged combatants, the committee on Tuesday lodged the complaint demanding action against the Maoist leadership for using them in the insurgency although the leadership was aware that they were minors. The complaint was registered at the TRC office in Kathmandu and the registration number of the complaint is 49.
According to Lenin Bista of the struggle committee, they have also demanded action against the Government of Nepal and the United Nations Mission in Nepal (UNMIN) for turning a blind eye toward the use of child soldiers.
“Nepal has signed the UN protocol on child rights regarding the use of children in armed conflict but nobody cared about us. Even UNMIN just termed us disqualified and left us in a lurch,” said Bista.
“We have decided to file the complaint to stop any future use of children in armed conflicts,” he added.
Bista said that the discharged combatants want reparations and recognition from the commission. “The TRC will submit its report to the government and it will be studied with interest by all international agencies. Therefore, we want action against those who misused us as minors and who turned a blind eye to our plight,” said Bista.
He claimed that five combatants among the discharged have already committed suicide. “We were termed disqualified and discharged from the camps. Later, we were given assurances that the government would see to our livelihoods, but nothing has been done,” said Bista. According to him, they have also demanded reparations and also raised concerns over their personal security for having filed the complaint.
TRC has been receiving complaints from conflict victims since Sunday at its office in Kathmandu and the local peace committees in all districts. According to TRC Chairman Surya Kiran Gurung, the commission has received 901 complaints so far. The commission received 220 complaints on Thursday alone. “Altogether, 1,834 people have taken away the complaint forms and we have received 901 complaints so far,” said Gurung.