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UN envoy begins official visit to Nepal to try to obtain release of child soldiers

14 December 2009 – A top United Nations human rights official arrives in Nepal today to help accelerate the release of nearly 3,000 child soldiers who served in the Maoist army during the country’s decade-long civil war and remain in temporary camps three years after a peace deal ended the conflict.

The Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Children and Armed Conflict Radhika Coomaraswamy will use the four-day mission to ensure progress in the discharge of the Maoist army personnel confirmed as minors during the UN-led verification process completed in December 2007.

The children were slated to be discharged from the army camps immediately after the completion of the verification process, as repeatedly called for by the Security Council. The 2006 peace agreement ending the civil war led to the establishment of the cantonments to provide temporary shelter for Maoist ex-combatants in several localities across Nepal.

Ms. Coomaraswamy also hopes to witness the signing of a time bound plan on the discharge of the minors, which will constitute the first step in deleting the Unified Communist Party of Nepal-Maoist (UCPN-M) from the list of parties which recruit and use children in conflict.

The UCPN-M has been listed in five annual reports of the Secretary-General on Children and Armed Conflict.

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