India’s name has been excluded from the United Nations General Assembly Security Council Children and Armed Conflict Report of the Secretary-General. This significant development comes as a result of the measures implemented by the Indian Government to enhance the protection of children in the country.
Since 2010, India had been mentioned in the Secretary-General’s report, along with several other countries such as Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Lake Chad basin, Nigeria, Pakistan, and the Philippines. The report raised concerns about the alleged recruitment and use of boys by armed groups in Jammu and Kashmir, as well as the detainment of boys by Indian security forces based on their alleged association with armed groups or national security grounds. It also highlighted incidents of children being killed and maimed by Indian security forces, including the use of pellets. The report further addressed unidentified perpetrators, crossfire between armed groups and unidentified perpetrators, and crossfire and shelling across the line of control.
Recognizing the importance of addressing these concerns, the Government of India consistently engaged in efforts to remove the country’s name from the list. To expedite this process, an inter-ministerial meeting was held in November 2021, which included representatives from the Ministry of Women and Child Development, Ministry of External Affairs, Permanent Mission of India at New York, the Ministry of Home Affairs, and Ms. Virginia Gamba, the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Children. This meeting resulted in the agreement to appoint a national focal point responsible for identifying priority interventions to enhance the protection of children. Additionally, a joint technical mission was established to facilitate inter-ministerial and technical-level meetings with the United Nations, aiming to identify areas of enhanced cooperation for child protection.
Under the guidance and leadership of Smti. Smriti Zubin Irani, the Union Minister of Women and Child Development, the Ministry developed a comprehensive roadmap for cooperation and collaboration on child protection issues. This roadmap outlines the strategic initiatives and actions that will be undertaken to strengthen child protection in the country.
To ensure effective implementation, a technical team from the office of the Special Representative of the Secretary-General visited India from 27th to 29th July 2022. Furthermore, a workshop on strengthening child protection was organized in Jammu & Kashmir in November 2022, in collaboration with the Ministry of Women and Child Development, the Ministry of Home Affairs, and the Government of Jammu and Kashmir, with active participation from the United Nations. In line with the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act 2015, all statutory service delivery structures, including the Child Welfare Committee and Juvenile Justice Boards, have been established.
As a testament to the Government’s commitment to safeguarding children, India’s removal from the Secretary-General’s report in 2023 serves as a milestone achievement. The measures undertaken by the Government of India to improve child protection have been recognized, leading to India’s exclusion from the list of countries mentioned in the United Nations General Assembly Security Council Children and Armed Conflict Report of the Secretary-General.
In conclusion, India’s successful efforts to better protect children have resulted in the country being removed from the Secretary-General’s report on Children and Armed Conflict. This accomplishment reflects the Government’s commitment to ensuring the safety and well-being of children in India.