The following cases are examples of forced recruitment, including abductions in some cases.
In fact, nearly all the children we spoke with had been recruited far more brazenly, without the frightening backdrop of a solitary jungle abduction.
Sixteen-year-old Leela, from the far western parts of Nepal solidly under Maoist control, described the pressure exerted by Maoist forces on every family to provide at least one recruit and how they abducted her younger brother:
Most of the children we interviewed said that the Maoists took them from their homes for what they said would be a short-term stint participating in a campaigna period of a month or two. But when the children tried to leave after the initial campaign period was over, the Maoists would not let them go, or would recapture them if they escaped.
Seventeen-year-old Sita, who had been with the Maoists for seven months before she was captured by government forces, told Human Rights Watch she was initially taken for a one-month campaign, and managed to flee after the campaign was over. But the Maoists came back to her house and took her with them again:
In other instances children were taken from school, despite their resistance and protests by school officials. Sixteen-year-old Maya explained how she had been taken from school despite her teachers intercession with the Maoists:
Seventeen-year-old Kalawoti said that the Maoists first took some children from her area for their campaign, after which she was allowed to return home, but then they came back to her school to retrieve the children by force.
In Dailekh district, also in the west, Pradeep, a 16-year-old boy who was 14 when he was recruited, described his experience:
Shyam, a 14-year-old boy who had been recruited when he was a year younger from Taplejung district in the far east of the country, also described how Maoist forces had abducted him, along with several other children, from school:
The Maoists have continued to recruit and train children as soldiers through the ceasefire period. Reports by local and international monitors suggest that incidents of forcible abduction have declined since the ceasefire, as Maoists can carry out propaganda and other recruitment activity openly and do not need to take children forcibly.57 However, the same reports indicated that Maoists have at times relied on subterfuge or fraud to recruit children systematically across the country. Maoist recruitment of children continued at a steady pace until December 2006, after the signing of the comprehensive peace agreement. As this report was being finalized, we continued to receive reports of ongoing recruitment by Maoist forces, albeit at a slower pace.
The UN Secretary-Generals December 2006 report on child soldiers in Nepal, which included information gathered through the end of September 2006, stated that a further concern is the active recruitment of children carried out by CPN-M since the April 2006 ceasefire. The report provided the following details regarding recruitment after the ceasefire:
An August 2006 report of the Nepali National Coalition for Children as Zones of Peace stated that still in the various parts of the country, Maoists are abducting and torturing children on various charges, threatening them to join their cultural troupe and army, forcibly associating them in the armed group, etc.59 Since the ceasefire, the coalition has documented dozens of instances of abduction of children from different parts of the country, including Nawalparasi, Banke, and Makwanpur.60 Similarly, the September 2006 report by the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights in Nepal presented information about recruitment from around the country:
Reports of abductions or forcible recruitment after the ceasefire frequently appeared in the media. To cite just one recent example, on September 16, 2006, Nepal News reported that 19 children between age 14 and 18 were abducted by Maoists after they had attended a conference by the Maoist-affiliated militia Tham Liberation Front in Dolakha district. Three of the children had managed to escape after six days and inform their parents, who had then failed to secure the release of the other children.62 The same newspaper reported in August that Maoist forces abducted three children in Kathmandu in August 2006, and released them only after they promised not to join the Nepali army.63
This same pattern continued through November and even in the weeks immediately after the parties signed the Comprehensive Peace Agreement in late November. A monitoring team from Advocacy Forum traveling through mid-western Nepal in November found that Maoists in Bardia had told the children that, they had to fill the [recruitment] form in order to get the citizenship card from the government. The ages filled in these forms were fake. They did ask the children their ages and added either 1 or 2 years or more to the real age.64 On December 6, Somini Sengupta of the New York Times reported from the same area visited by Advocacy Forum, around Dashrathpur in midwestern Nepal, one of the 22 bases where Maoist forces are supposed to place their troops in cantonment and lock away their guns. In a village called Ramghat, just across the river, she wrote, schoolchildren recalled that rebel soldiers had gone around the market a couple of weeks before in an effort to enlist new recruits.65
Advocacy Forum monitors documented Maoist recruitment of children, including in some cases through abduction, in late December 2006 and early January 2007.66 At the time of writing, there was no sign that the Maoists had ceased this practice.
49 Human Rights Watch interview with Govinda (age 17, from Dadheldhuva), Bhutwal, March 5, 2006.
51 Human Rights Watch interview with Leela (age 16, from Rolpa), Butwal, March 5, 2006.
52 Human Rights Watch interview with Sita (17, from far western Nepal), Butwal, March 5, 2006.
53 Human Rights Watch interview with Maya (age 16, from far western Nepal), Butwal, March 5, 2006.
54 Human Rights Watch interview with Kalawoti (age 17, from far western Nepal), Butwal, March 5, 2006.
55 Human Rights Watch interview with Pradeep (age 16, from Dailekh), Kathmandu, May 2, 2006.
56 Human Rights Watch interview with Shyam (age 14, from Taplejung, recruited at 13 in 2005), Kathmandu, May 2, 2006.
57 Human Rights Watch email correspondence with Mandira Sharma, Kathmandu, August 29, 2006.
58 Report of the Secretary-General on children and armed conflict in Nepal, December 20, 2006, S/2006/1007, p.6.
59 National Coalition for Children as Zones of Peace, Hundred Days of Democracy: Children Are Still Ignored.
61 Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights in Nepal, Human Rights Abuses by the CPN (M): Summary of Abuses, September 25, 2006.
62 Guardians of Missing Kids Warn of Stir Against Maoists, Nepal News, September 16, 2006.
63 Maoists Release Youths on Condition of Not Joining the Army, Nepal News, August 10, 2006.
64 Human Rights Watch email correspondence with Advocacy Forum, November 24, 2006.
65 Somini Sengupta, Nepals Newly Peaceful Maoists Set Up Camp and Wait, New York Times, December 6, 2006, http://www.nytimes.com/2006/12/06/world/asia/06nepal.html?_r=1&oref=slogin&pagewa (accessed December 15, 2006).
66 Human Rights Watch email correspondence with Mandira Sharma, January 19, 2007.