“Stop arresting children in Kashmir” Ban pellet guns:Antonio Guterres

The Secretary-General of United Nations, Antonio Guterres has serious expressed concern over the child casualties in Kashmir, the report released on Monday said. “The UN has verified the killing of eight children in Kashmir.”

Guterres said in the report that the casualties in Kashmir occurred mainly due to “torture in detention, shootings, including from pellet guns, and cross-border shelling, The report also spoke of attacks on nine schools by “unidentified elements”.

Guterres said that he was concerned about the detention of 68 children between the ages of nine and 17 on national security-related charges with one of them held for allegedly associating with “armed groups”. He asked the government to take preventive measures to protect children and to ban the use of pellet guns against them.

“The UN is concerned about the arrest of children during nocturnal raids in Kashmir, and their detention at Army camps, “torture in detention” and detention without due process as he urged the government to end these practices,” the report read.

“I note the decline, as a result of government efforts, in the number of reports of child recruitment and of the killing and maiming of children relating to the Naxalite insurgency,” Guterres added.

Around the world, Guterres’ report said the UN verified over 25,000 grave violations of children rights and there was a 400 per cent increase in “the denial of humanitarian access to children with 4,400 verified incidents”.

Guterres called on the Pakistan government to protect children, especially around the LoC, and health workers in the campaign against polio, which recorded 660 attacks.

There were 10 other child casualties in Pakistan in occupied Kashmir, Balochistan, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Punjab for which “responsibility could not be attributed”.

A controversial aspect of the report was the omission of Saudi Arabia and its allies in Yemen.

Gamba, who spoke to reporters at the release of the report, attributed the omission to “sustained and significant” decrease in child casualties due to air attacks from 1,700 five years ago to 171 last year.

Former Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon had removed critical mention of the Saudi coalition from the report in 2016 under Saudi threat to withhold funds, but Guterres had included it the following year.

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