Progress in J&K helps India exit UN children & armed conflict report

The annual UN report, which assesses the impact of armed conflicts on children worldwide, now acknowledges India’s progress in safeguarding the rights of children.

| Updated: 29 June, 2023 8:59 pm IST

Correcting “an outrageous anomaly”, the United Nations has removed India from the latest edition of the Secretary General’s ‘Children and Armed Conflict Report’, in the wake of positive turn of events in Jammu and Kashmir. The government’s proactive measures to enhance child protection have garnered recognition and resulted in this commendable achievement, a noteworthy step forward since 2010. The annual UN report, which assesses the impact of armed conflicts on children worldwide, now acknowledges India’s progress in safeguarding the rights of children.

The Women and Child Development ministry expressed their elation, attributing this accomplishment to the concerted efforts of the Ministry of WCD, MHA, and MEA. Minister Smriti Irani took to Twitter to express her gratitude, emphasizing the long-awaited resolution that has now been achieved. This remarkable shift corrects a previous anomaly and showcases India’s commitment to creating a safe and nurturing environment for its young citizens.

Previously, India had been mentioned in the Secretary-General’s report on Children and Armed Conflict alongside countries like Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Lake Chad basin, Nigeria, Pakistan, and the Philippines. The allegations against India included the recruitment and use of boys by armed groups in Jammu and Kashmir, detainment of boys by Indian security forces in J&K based on their alleged association with armed groups or national security concerns, as well as incidents of children being killed and maimed by Indian security forces, including the use of pellets. Other issues raised in the report included unidentified perpetrators, crossfire between armed groups and unidentified perpetrators, and crossfire and shelling across the line of control.

The Government of India had consistently worked towards the removal of the country’s name from this ignoble list. The efforts gained momentum after an inter-ministerial meeting held in November 2021, involving the Secretary of the Ministry of Women and Child Development, the Ministry of External Affairs, the Permanent Mission of India at New York, the MHA from the Government of India, and Ms. Virginia Gamba, the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Children, along with other UN officials in New Delhi. This meeting resulted in the agreement to appoint a national focal point to identify priority national interventions for enhancing child protection and to conduct a joint technical mission for inter-ministerial and technical-level meetings with the UN to identify areas of enhanced cooperation in child protection. Under the guidance and leadership of Smti. Smriti Zubin Irani, Union Minister of Women and Child Development, a roadmap for cooperation and collaboration on child protection issues was developed by the Ministry.

In July 2022, the technical team of the office of the Special Representative of the Secretary-General visited India, followed by a workshop on strengthening child protection held in Jammu & Kashmir in November 2022. The workshop was organized by the Ministry of WCD in collaboration with the MHA and the Government of J&K, with the participation of the United Nations. Furthermore, all necessary statutory service delivery structures, including the Child Welfare Committee and Juvenile Justice Boards under the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act 2015, have been established.

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