LIMA, 1 June 2009 - As a result of the numerous complaints made with regard to children involved with armed groups in Peru, UNICEF Peru condemns the direct or indirect, forced or voluntary participation of children and adolescents in any situation of armed violence.
The Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) adopted by almost all member states of the United Nations and ratified by Peru in 1990 with its Optional Protocol on the involvement of children in armed conflicts prohibits the participation of children and adolescents in hostilities and their enlistment by armed groups or by armed forces.
Similarly, the Convention 182 of the International Labour Organization (ILO) bans the forced and compulsory recruitment of children under 18 and defines it as one of the worst forms of child labour.
Guido Cornale, UNICEF representative in Peru, expressed his concern by stating: “The effect of this type of events on children is devastating since it affects their emotional, social, cognitive and physical development”.
The repeated use of children and adolescents by the Shining Path group (Sendero Luminoso) constitutes a flagrant violation of the CRC, and places children in a situation of extreme vulnerability. Children can no longer enjoy their right to a decent life with their families instead are used as soldiers, war shields, cooks, porters or messengers. It is imperative that these children and adolescents return to their families and communities immediately.
Article 17 of the CRC calls for the protection of children against the dissemination of information and material that damage their well-being.
UNICEF is on the ground in over 150 countries and territories to help children survive and thrive, from early childhood through adolescence. The world’s largest provider of vaccines for developing countries, UNICEF supports child health and nutrition, good water and sanitation, quality basic education for all boys and girls, and the protection of children from violence, exploitation, and AIDS. UNICEF is funded entirely by the voluntary contributions of individuals, businesses, foundations and governments.
For further information, please contact :
Marilú Wiegold, Tel 511 213 0706, Mobile 511 9757 3218
Elsa Ursula, Tel 511 213 0707, Mobile 511 9352 6944
Henry Sánchez, Tel 213 0712, Mobile 99791 8802