Can’t say why

Nepal is second to none in churning out reports. A deluge of reports has come out on the poor state of children’s rights in a fortnight. First came the Amnesty International’s report which accused the Maoist rebels and the security agencies of disrespecting conventions on child rights. Then came a report on the pathetic state of children working in brick kilns followed by another report on abuse of children at work. Reports present a bird’s eye view of the problem. And that is the objective those producing it have in mind. However, not all reports have achieved what they set out to do. In most cases, reports gather dust after initial brouhaha at a press meet by their sponsors. Nor are recommendations followed effectively. Why should any report be produced if it is to be shelved aside right after it sees the light of day?

The idea of studying a problem is to find a solution to it. If child abuse is prevalent, there cannot be any justification in shifting blame and leaving it unattended. For example, children are caught up in conflict and so many of them traumatised by its consequences. How many rehabilitation centres has the government opened to address that concern? Does the government possess the name list of those affected in various ways? There are children who have been killed, mistreated, tortured (including in schools and homes) and forced to work as labourers. What has the government done to address the concerns of this lot? These are some of the issues the State and those who receive grants in the name of children need to look into long after the reports are published.

A study of a problem is only a means and not an end in itself. Ideally, they are a product of a research involving the examination of outstanding cases and group samples, though many of them in Nepal fall short of required analytical benchmark to be taken seriously. It has also become a fad for to produce reports. While honest ones which take into consideration the vital aspects of a case are indeed revealing, the redress mechanism that ought to follow such studies are seldom put in place. Though children are of late getting unprecedented media attention, their plight has not changed a wee bit.

There is a lot of work to be done on the execution front as in the examination of problems. Child rights is just one of them.