Education under Attack 2010 - Nepal
|Publisher||UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO)|
|Publication Date||10 February 2010|
|Cite as||UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO), Education under Attack 2010 - Nepal, 10 February 2010, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/4b7aa9dc0.html [accessed 18 September 2014]|
Following the end of the Maoist insurgency in November 2006, the number of teachers and students abducted dropped dramatically, but the combined number of teachers and students killed continued at similar rates as during the conflict.573
The number of abducted teachers decreased from 1,360 in 2006 to 36 in 2007, 34 in 2008 and six in the first half of 2009. The number of students abducted fell from 3,154 in 2006 to 78 in 2007, but rose to 90 students in 2008; however, it appears to have decreased again, at 24 in the first half of 2009.
In the last year of the conflict, 2006, two teachers were killed. This number increased to eight in 2007 but fell to seven in 2008 and one in the first half of 2009. The number of students killed rose from 28 in 2006 to 35 in 2007 and 39 in 2008; in the first half of 2009, 18 students were killed.
In other words, despite a fall in abductions, the killings have continued at similar rates to those during the 11-year war between the Maoists and the government (1996-2006), when on average 13 teachers and 31 students were killed each year. While the number of teachers reported killed over the past three years has decreased, the number of reported student deaths has risen, as compared to the civil war average. This may be related to the fact that while Maoists and Royalists reached agreement to end the fighting, other groups have emerged, stoking ethnic and caste tension and calling for more devolved power in Terai region, where armed rebels, often described as criminal elements, are operating.574
In addition, it is reported that 48 teachers and 182 students were beaten by Maoist, state or other forces in 2007, and 37 teachers and 219 students were beaten in 2008.575 One school was destroyed in 2007 and five were destroyed in 2008.
Armed criminal gangs have also been kidnapping schoolchildren. Khyati Shrestha was snatched in Kathmandu on 5 June 2009 and her kidnappers demanded a $13,000 ransom. Weeks earlier, a 10-year-old girl was snatched on her way to school in Kathmandu by armed men riding on motorbikes. Police say this is not a new problem but often goes unreported because victims and their families prefer to keep it secret to avoid further complications.576
On 12 May 2009, a school in Dolakha was closed after the principal and a teacher were assaulted by Maoist activists.577 Around the same time, three teachers in Dhading District were threatened by Maoist activists. One was told not to come to school, another was threatened to leave and a third was reportedly forced out of his position in the School Management Committee.578
In April 2009, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon criticized the Prime Minister and Maoist chairman, Pushpa Kamal Dahal, for failing to ensure the release of 2,973 children from Maoist cantonments by the end of February 2009. In a report released on 21 April, he noted that abductions, killings, explosions of improvised devices and attacks on schools and teachers by armed groups in the Terai region continued, with children making up a disproportionate number of the victims.579
On 26 September 2007, IRIN reported that 11 schools in Kapilvastu District remained closed following the outbreak of violence between the Pahade and Madhesi ethnic communities in southern Nepal ten days earlier. Some facilities had been burnt down and completely destroyed, according to child rights workers.580
On 21 May 2007, Maoists reportedly abducted Biswonath Shah, principal of the Janasewa Secondary School of Siraha, from his home in Siraha District over allegations of irregularities in the school's finances.581
In February 2007, the Coalition to Stop the Use of Child Soldiers estimated that one in ten of the 30,000 soldiers in the Maoist army registered in cantonment sites under the November 2006 peace agreement were under 18.582 By September 2009, these 3,000 child soldiers still had not been released.583
The UN Secretary-General's Report on Children and Armed Conflict in Nepal, published on 21 February 2007, provided evidence that children continued to be recruited. The report, prepared with the help of international and national child protection agencies, found at least 512 cases of child recruitment in September 2006 and more than 1,811 children associated with armed forces and armed groups.
The Monitoring and Reporting Mechanism Task Force documented 1,995 children associated with the parties to the conflict, including 475 below the age of 15 at the time of recruitment. It reported that 1,576 were recruited after the April 2006 ceasefire, 896 of them in November 2006 alone. Most were enrolled in schools at the time of recruitment.584
Human Rights Watch reported in 2007 that Maoists had recruited children in a number of ways, including: kidnapping of individual children; abduction of large groups of children, often from school or at mass rallies they are forced to attend; and use of propaganda programmes in schools or at mass gatherings to attract children as "volunteers". Human Rights Watch interviewed children who had been recruited at schools: most were recruited at age 14, but some as young as age 10. Recruitment initially accelerated after the April 2006 ceasefire and then continued at a slower steady pace.
In many cases after the ceasefire, schools were forcibly commandeered for the staging of "educational programmes", often including singing and dancing, that led to recruitment.585 Once recruited the children stopped going to school. In some cases such sessions were used to identify children for forcible recruitment at a later date.
The South Asia Terrorism Portal reported that, on 17 January 2008, Prakash Karki, a pro-Maoist member of the All Nepal National Free Students' Union national committee, alleged a group of 50 Maoists took under control three other students, Rita Poudel, Srijana Dhungel and Subba Rokka while they were in class.586
On 14 November 2006, a report from Dhading District stated that the Maoists had abducted schoolchildren from different places in the district to conscript them into the People's Liberation Army.587
[Refworld note: The source report "Education under Attack 2010" was posted on the UNESCO website (www.unesco.org) in pdf format, with country chapters run together. Original footnote numbers have been retained here.]
573 Figures for Nepal supplied by HR Documentation and Dissemination Department, Informal Sector Service Centre (INSEC), Kathmandu. INSEC is a partner in the Children and Armed Conflict Monitoring and Reporting Mechanism Taskforce for Nepal.
574 For background information on the Terai tension, see Magnus Hatlebakk, Economic and Social Structure that May Explain the Recent Conflicts in the Terai of Nepal (Bergen, Norway: CMI, 2007).
575 Figures for Nepal supplied by HR Documentation and Dissemination Department, INSEC, Kathmandu.
576 AFP, "Spate of Kidnappings Shocks Nepal," June 25, 2009.
577 Information supplied by UNESCO-Kathmandu.
578 Information supplied by UNESCO-Kathmandu.
579 Republica, "Maoists Committing Grave Violations: UN Chief," April 24, 2009.
580 IRIN News, "Nepal: Children Severely Affected by Ethnic Violence in South," September 26, 2007.
581 South Asian Terrorism Portal, "Abductions by the CPN-Maoists Since the April 2006 Cease-fire," http://www.satp.org/satporgtp/countries/nepal/database/ceasefire.htm.
582 Coalition to Stop the Use of Child Soldiers, Child Soldiers Global Report 2008, 248.
583 Office of SRSG on Children and Armed Conflict, "Statement by SRSG Radhika Coomaraswamy: Ministerial Follow-up Forum to the Paris Commitments and Paris Principles on Children Associated with Armed Forces or Armed Groups," September 29, 2009.
584 Coalition to Stop the Use of Child Soldiers, Child Soldiers Global Report 2008, 247.
585 HRW, Children in the Ranks: The Maoists' Use of Child Soldiers in Nepal, HRW report 19, no. 2(C) (New York: HRW, 2007).
586 South Asia Terrorist Portal, "Abductions by the CPN-Maoists."