By Kamala Sarup
The UNICEF report showed that "Warlords are forcing children in conflicts around the world to become killing machines - nothing more than what one child advocate calls. Some children are kidnapped from their schools or their beds, some are recruited after seeing their parents slaughtered, some may even choose to join the militias as their best hope for survival in war-torn countries from Colombia to Nepal and across Africa and the Middle East, to south Asia. Once recruited, many are brainwashed, trained, given drugs and then sent into battle with orders to kill. These children, some as young as 8, become fighters, sex slaves, spies and even human shields, the report further added.
Even last week, 58 countries and nongovernmental agencies signed a treaty to do more to free current and potential child soldiers from peril. But there are many, many more. According to Free The Children's report "In times of war children are subjected to barbaric acts of physical, psychological and sexual cruelty."
The Human Rights Watch has issued reports of child soldiers. The HRW said "Many children abducted or recruited by force, and often compelled to follow orders under threat of death. Others join armed groups out of desperation. As society breaks down during conflict, leaving children no access to school, driving them from their homes, or separating them from family members, many children perceive armed groups as their best chance for survival".
According to the UN, Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch, said young fighters are active in at least 19 countries. Human Rights Watch posting reports in January alleging violations by Maoist forces in Nepal and an offshoot of the Tamil Tigers rebel group in Sri Lanka.
"We're no longer just pointing fingers at rebel groups or government armies," said Human Rights Watch's Becker. "Now we're holding individual commanders accountable for their crimes."
The HRW report shows with case studies, maps and photographs. Based on research in Angola, Burma, Burundi, Colombia, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Lebanon, Liberia, Nepal, Sierra Leone, Sri Lanka, Sudan and Uganda where rebels operates, the report features testimony from two dozen family members of boys and young men abducted by the arms group. According to the reports on child soldiers said "Thousands of children were recruited by the Communist Party of Nepal (Maoists) during Nepal's 10-year civil war. The Karuna group has abducted hundreds of children in eastern Sri Lanka for use as child combatants.
During the thirteen years of civil war in Burundi, children were recruited and used as combatants and general help by all sides in the conflict. Since 1989, young soldiers have fought in armed conflicts in Liberia, Sierra Leone, Guinea and Cote d'Ivoire. LTTE recruited thousands of child soldiers in Sri Lanka following a ceasefire agreement reached in 2002. More than 15,000 child soldiers fought on all sides of the Liberian civil war. More than 11,000 children fight in Colombia's armed conflict. Children are abducted in record numbers by the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) in northern Uganda. Burma is believed to have more child soldiers than any other country in the world. Government-sponsored paramilitary forces have committed many killings, over the last four years in Burundi. In southern Lebanon, boys as young as twelve years of age were subject to forced conscription. Guerrillas call child combatants "little bees" (abejitas), able to sting before their targets realize they are under attack. (Source:http://hrw.org/campaigns/crp/index.htm)
'You were proud of your daughter. You told she was a unique diamond'. I told her. She intended to cry. She felt as if the sky fell on her. 'Please Kam, no more satire' she said and added why are you adding sorrow in my life? Whatever it may be, she was my daughter. Do you remember the days when she had sat for hunger strike for one day? Is not she that she had promised in front of me to study hard and keep me as the wonderful mother". She wept bitterly. The world is seeming gloomy. Perhaps, she will die breathlessly.
'What are you going to do next?' I asked in a mild voice. 'If you agree, you can go to the police post. You can report the news there easily. I am ready to help you there." I touched her head while saying so.
"Kam, your friend Maya, fled away from the village. What a naughty girl? Instead of capturing the criminals, she cut our nose.' my mother told me. This very news spread all over the village, the incident of her fleeing had created a kind of storm in our society. The meeting of village pleaded in favor of her daughter and against Maya. Maya belonged to a rich family. She was compared to a butterfly while walking, playing and jumping. On the other hand, Maya loved her daughter who was good in study, intelligent in speaking. She was 10 years old. Maya's husband Bahadur was in the count of panchas too. Being an intelligent and clever boy, he was able to hold a Job of four thousands seventy five rupees. It was an unbelievable matter.
Maya, daughter of a wealthy village leader, lovely, beautiful and attractive young girl, was liked by Bahadur. He also told 'I care none in this world, I will keep my daughter in my lap.' Looking at the tearful eyes of Bahadur, had expressed it to me. 'I do like to help you. I can help none except you in this world.' I had promised it in the presence of my mother by holding his hand.
"If you obey me, I will provide you land, gold, and expensive clothes. If you could not bring your daughter, never step in my home.' the above words of my father are reeling like a film in his mind now.
Maya ignored her family, her husband and fled that She was going to find her daughter. I heard she reached to Kathmandu in a dark night! Maya couldn't imagine that she had spent several days eating nettle and porridge. According to her, she worked as a porter, dish washer and cook in hotels. At night she tried to forget the difficulties. She wiped out tears. For several months, she was unable to take a room in rent. She fought with many obstacles. Meat would not be more than two times in a year. Her days went for washing the dishes of others. Her eyes were crying for her daughter. She hugged for hours near temple Pashupati weeping.
Bahadur who used to play with rhododendron and other flowers on the hill, carried stones and bricks as a labor and brought sweet and meat for Maya is now completely alone in our village. One day Bahadur came with meat and made her to eat whole pretending that he had got pain in his stomach. She remembers the day.
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