An international network of non-governmental organisations highlighted the plight of Nepali children caught in the conflict. Watchlist, the New York-based network, said children were not just caught in the crossfire. "Worse, they are being deliberately used and exploited by those waging the war," said Watchlist's Julia Freedson. "The lives of children are not being spared, neither by the Maoists nor the armed forces."
In a report launched on 26 January titled Caught in the Middle: Mounting Violations Against Children in Nepal's Armed Conflict Watchlist details evidence of abuse committed against children by both parties.The evidence was gathered by children protection groups in Nepal, documenting alarming patterns of children being systematically denied their rights such as the right to education as a result of Maoist strikes, destruction of schools, school closures and overcrowding and the pervasive atmosphere of fear and violence. It also documents several cases of Maoists targeting schools for attacks and using schools as grounds for abduction and recruitment of tens of thousands of students and teachers.
"The government and the Maoists must take immediate steps to halt violations against children," said Kathleen Hunt, CARE International's UN representative and chairperson of the Watchlist. "They must uphold the international human rights and humanitarian laws, particularly the Convention of the Rights of the Child."