In its written statement, the ALRC has mentioned that a host of factors, including ethnic conflicts, have affected the future of the children in the region. The ALRC also stated that the different insurgent groups in the North East, including the ULFA, have been recruiting children and teenagers in the region.
The report regretted that though India ratified the Convention on the Rights of the Child, in 1992 with a declaration on Article 32 and the two optional Protocols to the Convention on the Involvement of Children in Armed Conflict on November 30, 2005 and on Sale of Children, Child Prostitution, and Child Pornography on August 16, 2005, yet, children in India face manifold forms of human rights abuses, mostly in regions where armed conflicts exist, like in the north-eastern region of the country.
“Multiple conflicts between armed insurgent groups and between some of these groups and the government dominated the region since the last five decades. Insurgent groups by force recruit children in the region,” says the report pointing out that ULFA uses teenagers to ferry explosives and to detonate grenades.
On the other hand, the report also expressed concern over the high school dropout rate in all the eight States in the region.
“The dropout rate of children of age group 6-11 from school is 45.91% for boys and 44.87% for girls. This is way above the national average, which is 31.81% for boys and 25.42% for girls.
For the age group 6-14, the dropout rate is even higher, with the rate of boys leaving school at 60.08% and girls at 59.32% in comparison to the national average 50.84%,” the report says.
The report also says that frequent strikes by warring ethnic and political groups have affected the mobility of children and often forced closure of schools. It is common in the region, for schools to remain closed for four to six months due to strikes.