Monday, November 29, 1999

India to UN: Maoist problem not an armed conflict

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New York, June 18 (IANS) India has voiced its strong protest against the inclusion of the Maoist guerrilla issue as an 'armed conflict' in a UN report and clarified that the violence by these groups does not constitute a zone of armed conflict as defined by international law.'At the outset I should make clear that the violence being perpetrated by these groups, though completely abhorrent and condemnable, certainly does not make this a zone of armed conflict as defined by international law,' India's permanent representative to the UN Hardeep Singh Puri told the UN Security Council.Alluding to a recent UN report that deals with 'Children and armed conflicts', Puri stressed that operations of the Maoist groups did not fall in the realm of 'armed conflict'.'We, therefore, cannot accept reporting on these incidents as falling within the mandate of the Special Representative of the Secretary General on Children and Armed Conflict,' he said.The UN has appointed Radhika Coomaraswamy as Special Representative for Children and Armed Conflict.The report, produced by the office of Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and submitted to the Security Council, highlights the recruitment and use of children by the Maoist armed groups in some districts of Chhattisgarh.'The Naxals have admitted that children were used only as messengers and informers but have admitted that children were provided with training to use non-lethal and lethal weapons, including landmines,' the report said.

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