Kathmandu, February 15
Nepal has been ranked 78th in the world on how effectively children can use the courts to defend their rights, according to a new research from Child Rights International Network (CRIN).
The new report, ‘Rights, Remedies and Representation’, takes into account whether children can bring lawsuits when their rights are violated, the legal resources available to them, the practical considerations for taking legal action and whether international law on children’s rights is applied in national courts.
Nepal ratified the Convention on the Rights of the Child in 1990 and it takes precedence over national law, making them directly enforceable in the courts, though the Supreme Court of Nepal does not always follow this rule.
Cases related to violation of children’s rights under the Children’s Act may be initiated by any person on behalf of the child involved.
The Children Welfare Committee of Nepal may also bring a case on behalf of the child. Although the General Code does not forbid a child from filing a complaint on his or her own, practice shows that the assistance of a parent or legal guardian is required, reads a statement issued by CRIN today.
The government is required to provide legal counsel for juveniles accused of committing offences and in every court there is a free-of-charge lawyer working for those who cannot afford representation.
Achieving access to justice for children is a work in progress and the report represents a snapshot of the ways children’s rights are protected across the world.
The report condenses findings from 197 country reports, researched with the support of hundreds of lawyers and NGOs and is intended to help countries improve access to justice for children nationally.
Director of CRIN, Veronica Yates, said: “While the report highlights many examples of systems poorly suited to protecting children’s rights there are also plenty of people using the courts to effectively advance children’s rights.
A version of this article appears in print on February 16, 2016 of The Himalayan Times.