Greetings from PVCHR.
PVCHR bog highlighted the child soldiers problemin Manipur.Montu Ahanthem from Manipur gave this information.Please visit:
Manipur newspapers published the statement of underground group which is attached as forwarded email. Statement mentioned that The release however said it is confounded by the manner in which the public is making this present issue to be that of kidnapping and abduction of children adding that it appears biased. Many Civil Society Organisations, CSOs and NGOs seem to be seeing through the eyes of the enemy, it said.
There is new threat on Montu,please immediate intervene with Indian Government and condemn the moove of PREPAK.
with warm regards,
2007 Gwangjoo Human Rights Awardee
---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: wide angle
Date: Jul 27, 2008 11:19 AM
To: Lenin Raghuvanshi
PREPAK says party will not make any recruitment till Oct 1
By: Imphal Free Press 7/27/2008 1:58:46 AM
IMPHAL, Jul 26: The banned PREPAK in a press communique today announced that in view of the public outrage and confusion over the issue of child soldiering and kidnapping, it would totally halt any kind of recruitment till October 1. All incidents of kidnapping during this period, it said the public can take it for granted that the PREPAK is not involved.
The release said the party fully respects international norms laid down by the "Convention of the Rights of the Child" signed by 200 countries, and in particular its Protocol (2) which lays down the rights of children to be safeguarded being made party to deadly conflicts.
The release however said it is confounded by the manner in which the public is making this present issue to be that of kidnapping and abduction of children adding that it appears biased. Many Civil Society Organisations, CSOs and NGOs seem to be seeing through the eyes of the enemy, it said.
The fact that Kangleipak was once a sovereign country and now it is under subjugation seems to have been sidelined, it said.
It said it is unable to understand the current outrage, when such outrage was never shown when the Indian army recruits Class VIII pass candidates in its ranks, or when the establishment trains minors in the arts of war through organisations such as NCC, VVF or Boys Scouts.
If these are patriotic exercises, how can training young boys to inculcate patriotism by revolutionaries amount to abduction, it asked.
It said it is known that child soldiers are employed by the state as well as non-state in about 17 states. Among these are Burma, Burundi, Chad, Columbia, Congo, India, Lebanon, Liberia, Nepal, Sierra Leone, Sri Lanka, Sudan and Uganda. In Angola and Columbia thousands and thousands of child soldiers were used.
All these depended on the needs of the hour of the individual countries, it said. The conflict in Kangleipak also has its own peculiar needs.
The statement said PREPAK is saddened by the "holier than thou" attitude of some organisations by fishing in troubled water. There is nothing to be gained from such attitudes, it said.
It said it is everybody's knowledge what role child soldiers took in the liberation struggles of Cambodia, Vietnam, China etc, and if this was the case why is the present case being portrayed in unflattering light as in the Hollywood film "Blood Diamond" it asked.
The statement also said it has never made any demand to any school to give children to be its cadres. School authorities which have claimed this must clarify after the truths have been established, it said.
It said the PREPAK however appreciates the good intentioned advices given to it by senior citizens, civil organisations and individuals. It said the PREPAK never ever forcibly recruited children. There are children who have come to the party voluntarily, and these cases had been duly communicated to their parents or guardians. In some cases however, because of the pressures of the situations, such communications have not been made and it tendered its apology for these.
It said there can be nothing wrong in grooming the children of the place to be responsible and have affinity to the liberation struggle. The party has recruited children, but they would not be made soldiers immediately. They would be tutored and trained to be good, qualified citizens, and if they so wish they can join the revolution. There have been cases where children thus trained have been allowed to return as per their wishes, and there have been others who have joined the armed struggle, it said.
Under the circumstance, the present din over child recruitment seems like the proverbial gaga that opportunist crows make when the cooking pot crumbles.
Further, the statement said there is no faction called PREPAK VC or PREPAK GS as the DGP of Manipur was making it out to be. It took strong exception to the charge by the DGP that the PREPAK was recruiting children because no mature person was willing to join it. It said "slaves" like the DGP who will do any bidding of his masters, will not understand.
It said it is true, children of such men will not think of joining the revolution, but these men will not understand that there are thousands of others living in impoverishment and deprivation who will. Not just 12/13 year old, but 8/9 year old children will also be compelled to rebel someday or the other, it said.
The release said the party has taken notes of those who are deliberately spreading the unrest. To the others, it called for a deeper reflection on the matter.
It also called for the cooperation of the media, asking its members to investigate the news they publish and not to be swept by baseless rumours and propaganda by vested interests