UNICEF condemns the use of children by Maoist Guerrillas in Peru

By Dialogo
June 03, 2009

LIMA, 02 June 2009 (AFP)-The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) organization reported this Tuesday from its office in Lima that it condemned the forced or voluntary participation of young boys, girls and adolescents in the Shining Path Maoist Guerrilla Group in Peru. UNICEF stressed that “the repeated use of children and adolescents by the Shining Path constitutes a flagrant violation of the Children’s Rights Convention and it places these children in a situation of extreme vulnerability that affects their emotional, social, cognitive and physical development”. Accordingly, it condemned “direct or indirect, forced or voluntary participation of young boys, girls and adolescents in any situation of armed violence”. A few days before, a TV program showed the images of at least 17 children between ages 10 to 13 years old with rifles within the Shining Path guerrilla groups in the Amazon region, holding a military formation in a remote location of the Peruvian jungle, boosting the slogan “Long Live Marxism-Leninism-Maoism”. UNICEF noted that these minors “are victims because they do not enjoy their right to have a decent life together with their families, and also they may be used as combatants or human shields, or also as cooks, carriers or messengers”. Also it expressed its disagreement with the “public and evidential media coverage of these children” as it stated that the exposure of their identity “leaves them vulnerable and exposes them to later violations of their rights”. Furthermore, the Peruvian Human Rights National Coordinator also condemned the Shining Path for substantiating one of its “most barbaric facets”, pointing out that the use of children in armed actions “is a violation of humanitarian international rights and a crime against humanity”. The Peruvian president, Alan García, announced last weekend that his government will report the Shining Path to the United Nations and to the Organization of American States (OAS) for using minors. The president stated that “people all over the world should be aware of the moral level of these diabolical forces that are using children.”