Nepal: Fact Sheet
- Population: 24.6 million
- Government armed forces: 63,000
- Child soldiers: 4,000
- The “People’s War” began 1996 between Communist forces of Nepal and government forces
- State of emergency was declared in 2001
- A ceasefire was agreed to on 29 January, 2003
- Maoists- the Communists of Nepal stopped case-fire talks in August of 2003 and continued the violent conflicts throughout Nepal
- In February, 2005, tensions and the violence increased even more as Maoists enforced blockades and abductions
- Maoists typically enter high schools and indoctrinate children with their causes
- No demobilization program has been created in Nepal
Nepal's Current Conflict
Since November 2001, 13,000 people have died in the Civil War between Communist forces of Nepal and government forces. In February 1996, the Maoist rebels sent a list of demands to the leader of Nepal. With the demands being rejected, the Maoist rebels began the “People’s War” in five different districts. From 1998 onward, the conflict further intensified as Maoist activity was fueled by widespread corruption and unemployment. The strong ideological stand and the widespread sympathy for the Communist forces gave the Maoists early success. Even though their methods included torture, rape, abduction, execution, and extortion, the absence of reasonable alternatives placed the public sympathy on the side of the Communist forces.
In June 2001, Prince Dipendra killed 10 members of the royal family, including the King and Queen, before killing himself. These assassinations plunged Nepal into a deeper crisis and instability in all levels of government. In July 2001, the next prince took power hoping to bring a resolution of peace between the government and the Communist forces. After successful conventions, the Maoists and government forces agreed to a ceasefire, only for the Maoists to withdraw from talks a month later in order to continue violent attacks against civilians the Nepal government. In 2002, King Gyanendra took over and attempted to begin new talks with the Maoists. A new ceasefire was formed in January 2003, only for the Maoists to commit ceasefire violations against throughout the country. In February 2005, a state of emergency was declared as the Maoists pushed violence to a level much higher then before.
Nepal's Use of Child Soldiers
Even though there are no officially numbers, an estimated 3,500 to 4,500 child soldiers are known to be employed by the Maoists. The typical method of recruitment for the Communists is to enter a high school and force students and teachers to move a remote location where hundreds of children are gathered to endure political indoctrination. The unbelievable harassment, loss of family members, displacement widespread throughout the country provides for an easy opportunity for Maoist rebels to recruit children who have no other alternative.
Life for children with the Maoists appears to be harsh, though a lot of children report to have undergone no form of harassment or discrimination. The downside of involvement is the constant beatings and tortures children have to endure if they are captured by the Sri Lankan troops. Similarly, children who disobey or attempt to escape are beaten for hours in front of their unit. Children often die of malnutrition as they are provided with a very meek diet while training or while participating in combat.
- "Children in the Ranks." Human Rights Watch. February 2007. 27 March 2007. <http://www.hrw.org/reports/2007/nepal0207/>.
- Lancaster, John. "Concern Grows Over Nepal's Child Fighters." The Washington Post. 14 June 2004. 27 March 2007 <http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2005/06/13/AR2005061301729.html?sub=AR>.
- "Nepal." Child Soldiers Global Report 2004. 2004. 27 March 2007 <http://www.child-soldiers.org/document_get.php?id=861>.
- "Nepal's Civil War: Human Rights and Child Soldiers." RAOnline. 2007. 27 March 2007 <http://www.raonline.ch/pages/np/npchildso.html.>