638Challenges for Bioethics from Asia
Nepalese Children Are Not a Peace Zone
- Prem Kaidi.
Nepal Working Journalists' Association, Kathmandu GPO# 4911, NEPAL
Nepal a tiny only Hindu Himalayan Kingdom is now burning under violent fire of internal war. The relation among the different nationalities is based on the old feudal pattern that is of internal colonial character. So the violent situation is not by political idelogy but given by the history of the unequal relations among more than 60 national communities. So the whole society is going to be involve in the war. In this way all child are also compelled to go to the war. So the UN and the international communities should compel the ruling strata of Nepal to change their outdated thoughts of all party rule. Nepal is like Switzerland of Asia. The unitary system is dividing the small country. Like Swiss confederation , if all nationalities will be given autonomy the war will be no more and the present situation will be no more. Otherwise like the children of Palestine and Israel, Nepalese children will be the part of war that is the children of the birth place of Lord Buddha will be no peace zone.
The children as zone of peace was developed by UNICEF in the mid 1980s. Warring parties stop their fighting whenever children are in the area, hence zone of peace. As Ms Graca Machel concluded in her 1996 report to the UN: "Let us claim children as zones of peace". This concept pertains to the rights of the children in a conflict situation, to be protected, not to be used in conflict and to be helped to recover. As Ms. Graca Machel said in her 1996 report to the UN: "by focusing on children - politicians, Governments, the military and non-State entities will begin to recognize how much they destroy through armed conflict and, therefore, how little they gain".
In Nepal, the concept should exemplify a Call for Action to all individuals, Government and organizations to understand, embrace and implement Children as Zones of Peace.
Children And Armed Conflict
To start with some alarming and reprehensible data: Children in Armed Conflict
: 200,000 children are killed in the armed conflict-related violence every year. 8,000 to 10,000 children are killed every year in course of using, carrying and stockpiling of landmines. 600,000 children are wounded every year in armed conflicts. About 300,000 children have been recruited and mobilized as soldiers in 30 countries until now. The United Nations endorsed an optional protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child in 2000, with provision that the children below 18 years of age cannot be used in any armed conflict with whatever motive. Sources: UNICEF, World Vision, Child Soldier Newsletter
: In the period of seven years of conflict, at least 422 children have been directly affected by the violence ignited by the operations carried out by the government and the Maoists, after the "People's War" was waged by Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) in February 1997. Among the victimized children, 146 have already died. Among the deceased, 73 were killed in government operations while 54 in Maoist operations. Likewise, eight children lost their life in police-Maoist crossfire. Eleven children were killed in operations carried out by the security forces. Hundreds of children have been abducted by the Maoists, while 44 children were killed in course of using, carrying and stockpiling of landmines. During this period, security forces have arrested hundreds of children below 18 years of age. Almost 2,000 children have been orphaned, while 4,000 children have been displaced due to the armed conflict. Hundreds of children have been forced to work in vulnerable situations in brick kilns, stone quarries and wool spinning mills, while others have become domestic workers and few have landed on the streets of urban centres.
. pp. 638-641 in Macer, DRJ., ed., "Challenges for Bioethics from Asia" (Eubios Ethics Institute, 2004).