Save The Children
Everyone almost always says that children constitute the foundation of the country’s future hence they should have an easy access to good education and health care. They cite the provisions in the new constitution and maintain that every child must get an equal opportunity to exercise his/her rights to the fullest. We should give them a favourable environment at home and school for their overall personality development. Parents have the primary responsibility to guarantee the rights of children followed by schools and the state. However, this is far from the case as incidents of crime against children such as rape and murder, sexual and domestic violence, child marriage and corporal punishment continue unabated in all parts of the country despite the enactment of stringent laws to secure their rights. According to the Central Child Welfare Board (CCWB), more than 70 cases of violence against children occurred in various parts of the country in the last four months alone. Of the total number of cases, 28 were rape cases in which the victims were girls aged 5 to 15 years. It is quite unnerving to note that six rape cases involved school teachers and six their close relatives including father, uncle and brother. Eight rape cases were committed by familiar individuals while in one case the perpetrator was a policeman. Two girls and two boys committed suicide in the same period while nine girls and 10 boys have reported to have killed themselves in Siraha district alone in the last and current year. Poverty, mental health, academic pressure, sexual and physical abuse, domestic violence, hopelessness, anger and relationship problems at home and school have been identified as the reasons behind rampant cases of suicides among the minors. At least 13 children aged between 2 to 11 years were killed during the period as a result of family disputes; two kids were killed by their step-mothers while three were killed by their own mothers. Similarly, 10 babies born out of wedlock had been killed by their mothers. The CCWB documented as many as 18 cases of child marriage during the period.
The constitution does enshrine child rights as the fundamental rights and there are numerous provisions meant to promote child rights, but the implementation of these instruments is all but satisfactory. Consequently, a large number of children in Nepal have been deprived of their fundamental rights such as health and education. Moreover, scores of cases of crime against children like rape and murder, domestic and sexual violence, child marriage, child labour and abuse, corporal punishment and trafficking of children come to light from across the country with no indication of their decline. Many children face starvation while many others are abused just because they are powerless. If we really believe that children form the foundation of our country, they shouldn’t be subjected to any form of cruelty, physical and sexual abuse and exploitation, let alone heinous crime like rape and murder. All the stakeholders should join hands to uphold child rights and secure the future of children. The government must formulate laws in line with the spirit of the constitution so that children can enjoy their rights unfettered. Schools must introduce reforms so that education is child-centric and children are free from stress and get an environment to show their talents. Above all, people in general and parents in particular must give special attention to ensuring the basic rights of children so that they grow up into able and competent citizens of this country and lead the nation on the path of progress and prosperity.