UN chief urges India to end use of pellets against children in Kashmir

UNITED NATIONS: UN Secretary General António Guterres urged India on Monday to end the use of pellets against children in Jammu and Kashmir and stop associating children with the security forces in any way.

The UN chief made these observations in his latest report on “Children and Armed Conflict” presented in the UN Security Council on Monday for an open debate. The report does not clarify how India has been associating children with the security forces.

At least 11 were wounded by pellet guns, according to the UN report.

“I remain concerned by grave violations against children in Jammu and Kashmir and call upon the [Indian] government to take preventive measures to protect children,” the UN chief said. He urged the Indian government to “end the use of pellets against children” and to “ensure that children are not associated in any way to security forces”.

He also urged New Delhi to endorse the Safe Schools Declaration and the Vancouver Principles — an inter-governmental commitment to protect students, teachers, schools, and universities from the worst effects of an armed conflict.

“I am alarmed at the detention and torture of children and concerned by the military use of schools,” said the secretary general while urging the Indian government to “ensure that children are detained as a measure of last resort and for the shortest appropriate period”.

He also urged India to “prevent all forms of ill-treatment in detention” and to “ensure the implementation of the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2015, to address the use of children for illegal activities and the situation of detained children”.

The United Nations also verified the recruitment and use of two boys by unidentified perpetrators and was reviewing reports of the use of three boys by Indian security forces for less than 24 hours.

Four children were detained by Indian security forces in Jammu and Kashmir for alleged association with armed groups, the report added.

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