In a significant development, United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has acknowledged India’s commendable actions in safeguarding the rights of children, resulting in the country’s removal from his annual report on the impact of armed conflict on children.
India had been listed in the report since 2010, alongside other nations such as Burkina Faso, Cameroon, the Lake Chad Basin, Nigeria, Pakistan, and the Philippines. Initially, India’s inclusion in the report stemmed from allegations of armed groups recruiting young boys in Jammu and Kashmir, as well as the detainment of boys by security forces on suspicions of association with these armed groups.
In his previous report, Guterres had praised the Indian government’s engagement with his special representative, expressing optimism about India’s potential removal from the list of concerns.
In the recently released 2023 report on Children and Armed Conflict, Guterres officially confirmed India’s removal, attributing it to the government’s proactive measures in protecting children. The Secretary-General also acknowledged a workshop organized by the Indian government in Jammu and Kashmir in November 2022, which witnessed active participation from the United Nations.
Virginia Gamba, the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Children and Armed Conflict, highlighted that India had been closely collaborating with the United Nations over the past two years, underscoring the nation’s commitment to preventing violations and establishing sustainable mechanisms for child protection.
According to Guterres’ annual report, children across the globe continue to bear a disproportionate brunt of armed conflict. In 2022, the United Nations verified 27,180 grave violations, with 24,300 committed during that year and an additional 2,880 committed earlier but verified in 2022.
The report identified various forms of violations that significantly impacted children, including killing, maiming, recruitment and use, abduction, and detention.
This removal of India from the list underscores the positive strides made by the country in safeguarding the welfare and rights of children in conflict zones. It highlights the significance of proactive measures and collaborative efforts in ensuring a safer and more secure environment for children caught in the midst of armed conflict globally.