Children in Conflict (2002)

Children in Conflict (2002)

Highlight of the Report: This report aimed at examining the impact of the current conflict on the children of Nepal. This study draws upon existing literature as well as field research conducted specifically for the purposes of this report. The objective was to examine the myriad of ways in which children were suffering as a direct result of the conflict and to determine which of those needs required to be addressed most urgently. Crucially this report draws out the main findings and makes recommendations for intervention. The report was carried out with the financial support of Save the Children,Norway

Details:

Since the end of the Second World War, more than 21 million people have died as a direct result of war and many millions more have been injured or maimed. Since the beginning of this century, civilian casualties (as a percentage of total casualties) have risen from 5% to 90%, and a third of these have been children (Gow et al 2000). In addition, millions more have suffered indirectly as a result of conflict. Recent UN reports state that half of the 30 million refugees and displaced persons in the world today are children.

Although children are part of the larger civilian population affected by war, they warrant special attention for the following reasons:

  • What happens during childhood shapes one’s understanding of the world, human society and one’s future role in it
  • Children who grow up living in violence are more likely to turn to violence themselves as a method of problem solving
  • Children have the right to be protected from harm
  • Respect for and protection of children is the responsibility of all. Not just parents but also local communities, governments and the international community.

The conflict between the Maoists and the Nepal Government that has been raging for almost seven years in Nepal had detrimental many effects on the children of Nepal. Even though this conflict can be classified as a ‘low intensity conflict’ in which exposure to actual incidences of violence is typically less than that in traditional warfare, “the effects in terms of repression, loss of security, income and service access, displacement, military harassment and other such phenomena are considerable”.  In fact, the effects on children can still be colossal, and are necessarily different. The imposition of security checks, patrols, curfews, closure of schools and loss of access to farmland and other resources etc., are all a part of military strategy in Nepal, and all have an impact on the lives and well being of children.

The early years of the new century has seen an escalation in the intensity of the conflict thus further compromising the security of Nepal’s children. Although children are rarely the direct targets of either party, all children in Nepal are affected by the conflict to varying degrees. The Convention on the Rights of the Child makes clear the duty of the international community and the Government of Nepal to care for and protect all children affected by conflict. This duty also extends to other agencies involved in preventative and curative measures.

 

In order to help the children of Nepal it is first necessary to understand how children are affected, which children are most vulnerable, the number of children involved etc. This report draws heavily on the existing literature and combines this with findings from the field. It is been found by IHRICON that this report has been used as a point of departure for designing effective strategies that are best able to help the children most profoundly affected by the conflict.