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.