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UN chief welcomes legal and administrative framework for child protection in India | MorungExpress

United Nations, July 11 (PTI) UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Monday hailed the legal and administrative framework for child protection and improved access to child protection services in several Indian states, but said that it remained concerned about the risk of recruitment of children by armed groups in the affected districts.

The Secretary-General’s report on children and armed conflict states that in India, the UN chief welcomes the government’s continued engagement with his Special Representative for Children and Armed Conflict, Virginia Gamba, and reference to the inter-ministerial meeting held in November 2021 and the appointment of a national focal point to identify priority national interventions to strengthen child protection.

“I further welcome the agreement of a joint technical mission to hold technical-level inter-ministerial meetings with the United Nations in 2022 to identify areas of enhanced cooperation for child protection. This enhanced engagement could lead to the elimination of India as a situation of concern from my next report on children and armed conflict, if all the practical measures agreed at these meetings are fully implemented by that date, said the leader of ONU.

Contacted, the Permanent Mission of India to the UN said that with regard to India’s references in the CAAC report for some years now, “we have in our statements reiterated our concerns”.

The mission referred to an excerpt from a statement made to the UN Security Council during the public debate on the CAAC last year.

“Despite the Council’s clear mandate, we note with concern that the Secretary-General’s report includes situations that are not situations of armed conflict or threats to the maintenance of international peace and security,” the Secretary-General said. for Foreign Affairs at the time, Harsh Vardhan Shringla, during the open debate of the UNSC. on children and armed conflict on 28 June 2021.

“We must be careful as attempts to selectively expand the mandate politicize the agenda, diverting attention from real threats to international peace and security and children in armed conflict,” Shringla said.

In the report, India is mentioned under the category Situations not on the agenda of the Security Council or other situations.

The report states that in India, the United Nations verified 54 grave violations against 49 children (45 boys, 4 girls).

The recruitment and use of 18 boys by armed groups in Jammu and Kashmir has been verified, he added.

A total of 33 boys have been detained by Indian security forces in Jammu and Kashmir for their alleged association with armed groups or for national security reasons. A total of 34 children (30 boys, 4 girls) were killed (5) and mutilated (29) by Indian security forces, including through the use of pellets by the Central Reserve Police Force (19), perpetrators not identified (4), crossfire between armed groups and unidentified perpetrators (7), and crossfire and shelling across the line of control (4).

The report also notes that the killing of two teachers by an armed group in Srinagar has been confirmed.

António Guterres welcomed the legal and administrative framework for child protection and improved access to child protection services in Chhattisgarh, Assam, Jharkhand, Odisha and Jammu -and-Kashmir, as well as the progress made in the establishment of a Jammu and Kashmir commission for the protection of the rights of the child, but said that he remained concerned about the risk of recruitment of children by armed groups in the affected districts.

However, he expressed concern at the increase in the number of violations against children in Jammu and Kashmir and called on the Government to strengthen child protection, including by ending the use of lead against children and building the capacity of its forces.

He also expressed concern about the detention of children and urged the government to ensure that children are detained as a last resort and for the shortest possible time, and to prevent all forms of ill-treatment in detention. in accordance with the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act 2015.