The Communist Party (Maoist) in Nepal is still recruiting children to serve as soldiers despite last April's ceasefire, according to a new United Nations report.
In a report submitted to the Security Council, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon asks the Maoists to immediately end the practice and urges both sides to do more to protect children's rights.
The 18-page report, which was issued on Wednesday, notes that the landmark Comprehensive Peace Agreement signed in November "includes provisions which commit the parties to reintegrating children associated with armed groups into their families and marks the first time this issue has been addressed within the peace process".
Although many of the reported violations occurred prior to the ceasefire between the State and the Communist Party of Nepal-Maoist (CPN-M), "there are still serious abuses being perpetrated against children," the report states.
All concerned must fully respect international law concerning the protection of children, including in the context of the peace process, and ensure that specific provisions for children are included at all steps of the negotiations.
The Secretary-General also recommends that the mandate of any further UN mission to Nepal should "explicitly incorporate child protection issues and include a specific child protection capacity" in order to help it to work more closely with the UN Children's Fund (UNICEF) and other agencies dealing with the issue.