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Child Rights in Nepal: How can we make a difference?

“For many children in Nepal, life is a struggle. The country has one of the highest rates of child labour worldwide, and more than 1 in 4 children under 5 years old are stunted from malnutrition.” This blog post will explore how parents can protect their children’s rights with specific examples about what they can do to help. It will also provide information on the Nepali government’s efforts to protect these rights.

This article discusses the United Nations Convention on the Rights of a Child, Nepal’s Constitution, and Children’s Rights, Organizations that support child rights in Nepal. What you can do as a parent: Tips for Parents on Protecting Children’s Rights in Nepal or Ways to Support Child Rights Efforts Worldwide.

The United Nations Convention on the Rights

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The United Nations Convention on the Rights of a Child has been in force since 1990 and Nepal ratified the Convention in 1991.  Article 3 states that “State Parties recognize the right of every child to a standard of living adequate for the child’s physical, mental, spiritual, moral and social development.”

The definition of child labour is any work that deprives children of their childhood, potentials, and dignity. It exists in every country around the globe although it has been made illegal in Nepal. The extent varies by community: from collecting firewood or water to caring for a younger sibling at home – these are all examples of child labour but shouldn’t be seen as domestic chores but should be seen as what they really are: exploitation. Children just like adults deserve an education, freedom, equal rights, and respect.

Nepal’s Constitution and Children’s Rights
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Nepal’s Constitution in Article 4 states that “The State shall take measures to protect and promote the welfare of children.” The article also discusses how child rights are a fundamental right where it is recognized that all children have equal rights irrespective of race, origin, caste, gender, or any other status. In another part of Nepal’s constitution, it says “The State shall protect the child from economic exploitation and from performing any work that is likely to be hazardous or to interfere with the child’s education, or to be harmful to the child’s health.”

What are children’s rights in Nepal like today, and how can they be improved upon for future generations to come?

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“The Nepali government has been waging a war against child labour since 2005. In 2015, the government even launched a program with the International Labor Organization (ILO) to eradicate child labour and offer cash compensation for parents who send their children to school.” This is one of the many efforts that are being done in Nepal to improve children’s rights.

These efforts are led by children’s organizations across the world who want to see an end to child labour and improve a child’s right to an education. Organizations such as Free The Slaves, and Nepali Children’s Organization have been working for years with volunteers in Nepal, India, Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam, and Laos on issues surrounding child rights.

The Child Rights Network Nepal (CRNN) has been working to improve child rights in Nepal since 2000.  The CRNN is working towards implementing improved child protection policies which will not only ensure the survival of children but also their development. They are focusing on improving access to education, health care, and justice for all children, especially children in need. They are also focusing on ending child trafficking, promoting interagency collaboration and coordination, providing technical support to the government for improving policy and child protection mechanisms, and strengthening capacity at the provincial level for child rights advocacy through awareness building.

Nepali government’s efforts to protect child rights in Nepal

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The Nepali government is currently working on implementing new laws to protect children’s rights. The first bill that was passed by the Parliament of Nepal in 2015, was the Child Labor Prohibition and Regulation Act which effectively banned child labour under 14 years old in non-formal sector jobs. The act also attempted to address child labour in the informal sector by defining and prohibiting child labour.

Child rights in Nepal is a work in progress where there will be many more challenges but with the help of organizations like Free The Slaves, Nepali Children’s Organization, and Child Rights Network Nepal we can overcome these challenges.

How parents can protect their children’s rights

If you are one of the Parents in Nepal who is constantly looking for ways to protect their children’s rights and better yet, improve child protection. Here are some ideas for parents who want to make a difference:  

  • Hold events at your child’s school or in your local community to help raise awareness. Even if it’s a small event, your child can be a part of it and become involved in making their community better for other children.
  • If you’re looking for ways to get support with an upcoming event about child rights, please contact the teams and organizations that are working on Child Rights as they are always happy to help out and offer advice.
  • Get involved with laws surrounding children’s rights or find a way to get important people in your community to be more aware of child protection issues.
  • Volunteer with programs that aim to protect children’s rights. Organizations such as UNICEF, Children’s Rights Network Nepal, International Labor Organization (ILO ), and Nepali Children’s Organization teach people about child rights to help make a difference in the lives of children.

Why do we need your support now more than ever before?

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“Nepal is a developing country with enormous child labour problems. Despite recent improvements in legislation, child labour remains one of the most pressing issues facing Nepal today. The challenge to end it does not lie solely within Nepal’s borders; rather, it requires the support of an international movement.”  – Child Rights Network Nepal

To help improve child protection laws in Nepal, we will need support from other people; parents, friends, volunteers, and non-government organizations. Even if it’s as simple as educating your child about their rights or sharing this article with others so they can be more aware of child rights, every little effort that you make as a parent to protect your child’s rights is making a difference!

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