The United Nations has urged Nepal's Maoist-led government to release thousands of former child soldiers from their remaining guerrilla army.
The U.N. says the former Maoist rebels recruited the under-age soldiers as guerrilla fighters during their decade-long campaign to overthrow Nepal's monarchy.
U.N. officials say nearly three thousand under-age combatants are among more than 19-thousand former fighters still confined to U.N.-monitored camps in Nepal. The camps were set up as part of a 2006 peace deal between the government and the Maoists following a civil war that resulted in more than 13-thousand deaths.
The head of the U.N. mission in Nepal (Macarena Aguilar) says the new government now must formally release all fighters under the age of 18.
The Maoists have not yet responded to calls to release the under-age fighters, and have previously said they are still deciding what to do with them.
Last week, Nepal's former communist rebel leader, Prachanda , was sworn in as prime minister, ending months of political deadlock in Nepal. Prachanda had led the decade-long insurgency to overthrow the monarchy.
Lawmakers voted to abolish the centuries-old monarchy in May and establish Nepal as a republic.
The Maoists won the most seats in the constituent assembly, but did not secure a parliamentary majority.