Imphal, May 30,
Youth’s Forum for Protection of Human Rights (YFPHR) expressed strong condemnation the act of Assam Rifles to promote child as child soldier in the state of Manipur and North East at Large which is under the AFSPA, 1958.
A statement signed by Phajaton, president of the Forum said that the Assam Rifles deployed in Manipur who are to assist the civil administration are vastly conducting the “Know Your Assam Rifles” a Campaign to motivate and encourage the young children. It further aimed to spread maximum awareness among the youth to join the Indian Defense Forces. Large number of youth from various villages were encouraged to learn about the Defense Forces through audio visual display of motivational movies and modern Weapons/ Equipments used by the Armed Forces.
It added that Manipur is announced as disturbed area by imposing the draconian law, Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act, 1958 and the Government of India is yet to define the existing conflict in Manipur as International Armed Conflict or Non-international armed conflict till date.
“The Campaign by the Assam Rifles is a violation of the UN Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on the involvement of children in armed conflict which the Government of India have signed and Rectified in the year 2005.
“To encourage and motivate the children under the age of 18 years is way forward to promote child soldier which is a clear violation of International Humanitarian Law and other International Laws on Children. The sophisticated weapons are displayed before the children and showing various videos on Armed Forces to the children under the age of 18 years cannot be taken as an act of awareness but an act of promoting child soldier which is in need of serious concern.
“The act of the Assam Rifles is an act of opening of child soldiers recruitments camps in nook and corner of the state which is a not a good sign but a step to end the lives of the children”, the Forum said and appealed the State and Assam Rifles to stop the campaign which is a violation of child rights and violation of UN Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on the involvement of children in armed conflict, 2000. It also appealed the state to direct the Assam Rifles to stay away from the students and young children so as to maintained proper educational environment and urged to direct the Assam Rifles not to enter the educational institutions in Army Uniforms.