(Original article: The Kathmandu Post, Nov. 11, 2015)
Various government and non-government organisations working in the field of child rights have expressed concerns over the violation of children’s right to peace, education and health care that has been violated due to the ongoing unrest in Tarai following the promulgation of new constitution.
They also expressed frustration over the fact that efforts made by various organisations such as the Central Child Welfare Board (CCWB) and the National Human Rights Commission regarding the use of children in conflict and ensuring their rights in the transitional phase.
“Schools have been shut in Tarai for more than two months and now children in other parts of the country as well are on the verge of staying at home due to fuel crisis. The blockade has hit the health sector and many parents are facing difficulties providing vaccines to their infants,” said Tarak Dhital, executive director at the CCWB. According to government data, 7,542,392 students from 11,118 schools in the Tarai have been directly affected by the ongoing protests. Similarly, around half of total 450,000 children in various child development centres in Tarai are also affected the unrest.
During an informal discussion between government representatives, international agencies such as Unicef and other stakeholders, participants shared tales of children being used to smuggle fuel and in various protests.
“Our attempt to educate leaders of all political parties on children’s rights was attended by all party representatives except the agitating ones who further politicised our work,” said an NHRC representative.
The discussion also decided to start a campaign to ensure children’s rights during the transitional phase.
The meeting was coordinated by the CCWB to find a way to reach out to children as well as agitating parties violating child rights.