New Delhi :
United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres has expressed concerns over the recruitment of children by terror groups such as Hizbul Mujahideen and Lashkar-e-Taiba in Kashmir and by Maoists in other parts of India. According to the Annual Report of the Secretary-General on Children and Armed Conflict', released on Tuesday, Guterres said that children continued to be affected by incidents of violence between armed groups and the Government, "particularly in Jammu and Kashmir and in the context of the Naxalite insurgency."
He also welcomed the Government's mseasures towards the protection of children through the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights but expressed serious concerns over the incidents of child casualties and the recruitment and use of children in some parts of the country.
"I welcome the Government's measures to provide protection to children, notably through the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights, but remain concerned by the reported child casualties and the recruitment and use of children in some areas of the country.
"I encourage the Government to put in place prevention and accountability measures to hold perpetrators of grave violations to account in view of ending and preventing grave violations against children," he said.
The report said that the United Nations has recieved several reports of children's recruitment by terrorists organisation to carry out attacks in Jammu and Kashmir and by Maoists in other insurgency-hit areas of India. It also mentioned the brutal rape and murder of an 8-year-old girl in Jammu and Kashmir's Kathua.
"Five children, some as young as 14, were reportedly recruited by militant groups, including by Hizbul Mujahideen (two) and Ansar Ghazwat-ul-Hind (one)." Two other children joined Lashkar-e-Taiba. In addition, reports of the systematic recruitment of children by Naxalites continued to be received," the report said.
Children continue to be used in combat, particularly in Somalia, Nigeria and Syria. Some 7,000 have been drawn into frontline fighting roles around the world, during 2018. They also continue to be abducted, to be used in hostilities or for sexual violence: more than half of the 2,500 reported cases were in Somalia.