In 2003, Nepal’s Maoists were one of the first armed groups to be listed in the annexes of the Secretary-General’s annual report on children and armed conflict. The group was delisted this year, following the successful implementation of an action plan signed in 2009 to end the use and recruitment of children. Around 3,000 minors present in Maoist cantonments were demobilized under UN monitoring and reintegrated in their families and communities. No further cases of use and recruitment of children by Maoist elements were reported.
Nepal is one of the first cases within the children and armed conflict agenda where a full MRM cycle has been completed: listing, constitution of a country task force on monitoring and reporting, submission of country-specific reports to the Security Council’s Working Group on Children and Armed Conflict, conclusions adopted by the Working Group, signature and implementation of an action plan and de-listing.
Since 2005, Watchlist has worked closely with Partnerships to Protect Children in Conflict (PPCC), a standing member of the country task force in Nepal. As the MRM is phasing out of Nepal, PPCC has published a report on the experience: “The Monitoring and Reporting Mechanism on Grave Violations against Children in Armed Conflict in Nepal – A Civil Society Perspective”. The report is based on interviews with civil society representatives across various regions of Nepal and presents their perspectives on the successes and challenges of the MRM in the country. Concrete recommendations are also made to the UN and the Security Council, as well as to task forces and country teams in other MRM countries.
As the study highlights, concerns remain regarding the continuing impunity for perpetrators of grave violations and the persistent “conflict-inherited” violence in the Terai and Eastern Hills which is affecting children particularly. While the MRM is phasing out of Nepal, local NGOs will continue to monitor child rights in the country, as they have done in the past, benefitting now from an increased technical knowledge due to their experience during the MRM years. The situation of Nepal will also remain in the body of the annual report on children and armed conflict for at least another year and close attention will be paid to re-emerging violence and its impact on Nepali’s children.