HIMALAYAN NEWS SERVICE
KATHMANDU: The Ministry of Women, Children and Social Welfare submitted its first report on optional protocol to the convention on the rights of the child on involvement of children in armed conflict to United Nations Committee on CRC this month.
The country ratified the optional protocol on January 3, 2007 and its implementation started a month later. According to the report, one of the major challenges with regard to the realisation of the principles and provisions of the optional protocol is the lack of a uniform data collection system, fallout of the decade-long armed conflict. Low literacy rates among children and adults (especially women and girls) have led to inadequate awareness on child rights and in many situations hindered the realisation of rights of the children.
Nepal has failed to address violence, abuse, exploitation and discrimination against children as well as prevent their involvement in the armed conflict due to the lack of a comprehensive child protection policy and community support systems. The government has adopted ‘a zero-tolerance strategy’ in relation to child recruitment and efforts are directed to protect and ensure that children recruited in the armed conflict have access to rehabilitation and integration measures. Due to the armed conflict, there was attraction towards militancy among many traditionally marginalised groups, especially in the Tarai region, said the report.
Though the national legislation prohibits recruiting children under the age of 18 in the national security force, youth wings of several major parties recruit many children, a significant numbers who may be under 16. Measures adopted to ensure rights to victimised children include endorsement of national plan of action for rehabilitation and reintegration of conflict-hit children.