Nepali kids not being heard: Global report

Kathmandu, June 13

Nepal still has a long way to go before it ensures a favourable environment for the promotion and protection of children’s rights, according to a global report.

A report called ‘Kids Rights Index 2016’ released in the Netherlands today highlighted that children in Nepal were neglected in terms of their safety and security though the country was plodding along the road to giving them their health and education rights.

Among 163 countries covered by the report, Nepal ranks 121 on a global index, lagging way behind Bhutan (55), Maldives (62), India (102) and Bangladesh (108) in South Asia.

Afghanistan, Pakistan and Sri Lanka, however, performed worse in the region in the ranking of countries’ attitudes to children’s rights.

Of the 165 countries covered in 2014 and 2015, Nepal was ranked 129th in both the indices.

The global index, which is based on 23 different indicators under five domains  life, health, education, protection and child rights environment  stated that Nepal was not doing well in fostering an enabling environment for protection of child rights.

Ranking 136th in the protection chart, Nepal has a worse score in protection as the domain deals with the status of child labour, adolescent birth rate and birth registration.

The report also mentioned that Nepal ranked 109th in life domain, 128th in health, 94th in education and 81st to 87th in child rights environment.

The report also reflects that there is still a gap between Sustainable Development Goals and the implementation of children’s rights in Nepal, while the domain ‘child rights environment’ measured different indicators such as: non-discrimination, best interests of the child, respect for the views of the child/child participation, enabling legislation, best available budget, collection and analysis of disaggregate data and state-civil society cooperation for child rights.

The United Nations Convention defines a child as a person below the age of 18, unless the laws of a particular country set a younger legal age for adulthood.

The latest national census calculated that at least 44.5 per cent of the country’s total population accounted for less than 18 years of age, while the under 10 years of age population stood at more than 6.6 million.

“None of the 163 countries achieved the highest possible score in child participation. This means that the views of 2.2 billion children on this planet are not being heard adequately regarding issues that affect them directly,” Marc Dullaert, chairman of the Kids Rights Foundation, said in a statement, urging all countries to increase efforts to ensure that the views of children were properly respected.

Compiled by the International Institute of Social Studies and Erasmus University in the Netherlands, the index uses data updated by UNICEF and the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child in its concluding observations.

Norway tops the index, followed by Switzerland, Finland, Portugal and Ireland, while this year’s overall worst performing countries are Vanuatu, the Central African Republic and Afghanistan, among others.