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UN chief's report on children caught in violence 'selective': India


United Nations, Aug 03: India has strongly expressed its disappointment over UN chief Antonio Guterres, in his recent report, including situations in India that are neither armed conflicts nor a threat to international security, saying such attempt to "expand mandate in a selective manner" to certain situations only politicises the agenda.

In the 'Annual Report of the Secretary-General on Children and Armed Conflict', which was released on Tuesday, Guterres said children continued to be affected by incidents of violence between armed groups and the government, "particularly in Jammu and Kashmir and in the context of the Naxalite insurgency."

UN chief Antonio Guterres

India was mentioned under a section of the report titled "Situations not on the agenda of the Security Council or other situations."

Paulomi Tripathi, India's first secretary at the United Nations General Assembly, speaking at a Security Council open debate on Children and Armed Conflict on Friday, pointed to the "importance of credible, impartial and transparent implementation of the mandate given to the UN system."

"In spite of the clear mandate by the Council, we are disappointed that the Report of the Secretary-General includes situations which are not armed conflicts or of threat to maintenance of international peace and security," she said.

"Such attempt to expand mandate in a selective manner to certain situations only politicises and instrumentalises the agenda, obfuscating and diverting attention from the real threats to international peace and security," she said.

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The report noted that the UN received reports of child recruitment and use by terrorists in Jammu and Kashmir. "In addition, reports of the systematic recruitment of children by Naxalites continued to be received," the report said. The report also cited the rape and murder of an eight-year-old girl in Kathua district.

Guterres, however, welcomed the measures taken by India to ensure protection to children. Tripathi said India is "cognizant" of the urgency to act now to protect child victims in order to prevent armed conflicts, and New Delhi remains a committed partner of the UN in this endeavour.

Human rights organisations also criticised Guterres for omitting countries responsible for grave violations against children in armed conflict in his new "list of shame", saying the process for determining which perpetrators are included in the report has become "increasingly politicised."

Watchlist on Children and Armed Conflict, a New York-based coalition of NGOs, said that in recent years, the process for determining which perpetrators are included in the report has become increasingly politicised.

"By listing selected violators but not others, Secretary-General Guterres is ignoring the UN''s own evidence and undermining efforts to protect children in conflict," said Jo Becker, children's rights advocacy director at Human Rights Watch.

"The UN secretary-general simply refuses to hold to account all warring parties that have inflicted tremendous suffering on children."

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