Nepal: UN, GoN and UCPN-M sign Action Plan for discharge of minors

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The Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Children and Armed Conflict, Ms. Radhika Coomaraswamy, Minister for Peace and Reconstruction Mr. Rakam Chemjong, Representative of the Secretary General (UNMIN), Ms. Karin Landgren and UCPN Maoist Chairman Mr. Puspa Kamal Dahal witnessed the signing of an Action Plan between the Government of Nepal, Unified Communist Party of Nepal (UCPN-M) and the United Nations for the discharge of Maoist army personnel disqualified in the United Nations-led verification process in 2007.

The UCPN-M has been listed as a party to conflict recruiting and using children in five Annual Reports of the Secretary-General on Children and Armed Conflict. The party needs to fully comply with the Action Plan in order to be removed from this list.

The Government of Nepal and the United Nations will assist the orderly rehabilitation of the disqualified once they have been officially discharged.

The discharged individuals will have access to a range of rehabilitation options which have been developed by the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF), the UN Population Fund (UNFPA) and the UN Development Programme (UNDP), in consultation with the Ministry of Peace and Reconstruction and UCPN-M.

Financing for these packages will be provided from the UN Peace Fund for Nepal (UNPFN), which is supported by the Governments of Norway, Denmark, the United Kingdom, Switzerland and Canada and the UN Peace Building Fund.

"This is a historic step in Nepal's peace process. We hope that it will encourage other steps to unblock the current political stalemate," said Representative of the Secretary-General in Nepal, Ms. Karin Landgren.

The Action Plan will be monitored by a United Nations-led team to ensure that those disqualified are given the choice to partake in programmes to assist their return to a civilian environment, and that they are not exposed to recruitment by groups who engage in violence or criminal activities. Political youth movements, in particular, are a concern for protection partners working with children across Nepal.