Donors call all to respect rights

Kathmandu, March 17:

The Donor community has appealed for the creation of an environment whereby the Nepalis can avail themselves of basic social services even during the conflict.

“Schools are truly zones of peace. The people should have access to health services. Schools and health facilities should be kept away from political activities and armed interference,” said a press statement issued by the embassy of Finland on behalf of the concerned donors of Nepal, namely ADB, Delegation of the European Commission to Nepal, DFID Nepal, embassies of Denmark, Finland, Norway, United Nations system in Nepal, Japan International Cooperation Agency, Save the Children Alliance and the World Bank.

The donors expect that the students, teachers, health workers and health and education officials are not made the victims of the conflict. “They (teachers, students and health workers) should work with communities and stakeholders in an open and accountable manner,” stated the press release.

“Assets (financial, material or human) belonging to the education and health sectors should be used solely for intended purposes,” it said, adding: “Efforts to monitor service delivery, whether by donors or by official bodies such as line ministries or the office of the auditor-general, should be allowed to go forward unhindered.”

Stating that the health and education services are at the heart of the Millennium Development Goals, the donors stated, “The prevailing conflict has jeopardised the progress being made towards the realisation of these goals.” Children and teachers have been abducted for indoctrination and recruitment; they have been threatened and intimidated and some public schools have been forced to close because of bandhs, the statement noted, adding, “Officials of many community-managed schools have been harassed and schools have been used as venues for carrying out political activities.”

“District Education Offices have been bombed, vehicles belonging to the District Education and Health Offices have been used by the security forces, medicines have been extorted from health and sub-health posts and peoples’ access to health services, including life-saving care, have been curtailed due to curfews, blockades and bandhs,” stated the release.