Through the Lens: Life and Politics in Asia

Nepal’s Ex-Maoist Child Soldier Shares Plight of His 3,000 Peers

About 3,000 former child soldiers in Nepal remain jobless.

Vishal Arora
Nepal’s Ex-Maoist Child Soldier Shares Plight of His 3,000 Peers

More than 10 years after the 2006 peace agreement brought an end to Nepal’s civil war, about 3,000 former child soldiers who were used by Maoists to fight the then-monarchy remain jobless. One of them, Lenin Bista, was given arms to fight for a revolution when he was just 12 years old.

Now 27, Bista is still fighting, now democratically and without arms, to demand justice for his peers, which include a few hundred women. All the ex-child soldiers must be given employment opportunities, he says in this video, shot in Kathmandu, where he now resides.

The use of child soldiers constitutes a war crime, Bista stresses as he speaks to The Diplomat. As the leader of this ongoing struggle for justice, he has paid a heavy price. He was kidnapped and jailed, but continues to raise his voice on behalf of the others, who, like him, are still awaiting employment.