UNSG concerned over child casualties, demands ban on pellet-guns in Kashmir

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Srinagar: UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has expressed deep concern over child casualties in Kashmir and mentioned that the reason of casualties has mostly been because of torture in detention, shootings, pellet-guns, and cross-border shelling, in his report on “Children and Armed Conflict”.

Secretary-General’s report, which was released on Monday, said that the United Nations has verified the deaths of eight children in Kashmir and maiming of seven children by Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT), cross-border shelling and by the government forces.

Mr. Guterres asked the government to take preventive measures and to ban the usage of pellet guns against children in Kashmir. He also expressed his concern about the detention of sixty-eight children of different age groups on national security-related charges.

The Secretary-General also urged Pakistan government to protect children, especially around the Line of Control.

The report attributed ten incidents to the government forces, one to the LeT, and another to “unidentified armed elements”. According to the report three incidents have happened due to cross-border shelling.

The report also noted reduction in the recruitment of children by Maoists in Jharkhand, and the rescue of approximately ten children in Jharkhand by the police from Naxalite groups.

The report said that UN verified over 25,000 grave violations against children around the world and there was a 400 per cent increase in the denial of humanitarian access to children with 4,000 verified incidents.

Mr. Guterres said that he was concerned about the arrest of children at night, and their internment in army camps, “torture in detention” and detention without due process as he urged the government to end these practices.

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