Off track

Hundreds of thousands of children were displaced, scores forced into the ranks of armed outfits and many orphaned during the decade-long Maoist conflict. The announcement of bilateral ceasefire in early 2006 brought with it hope that the basic rights of all the children across the country would be duly protected. Some improvements have been made. But if the latest report of the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) is anything to go by, a lot remains to be done in order to secure a safe and healthy future for these children and the country.

NHRC has found that both the government and the NGOs working for children are not doing enough to protect child rights in Nepal. Even with so many bodies working to ameliorate the suffering of children, many are being deprived of their right to life, protection, education and capacity development. Incidents of abductions and torture of children in school and child homes have not gone down; and child trafficking, forced child labour and sex-based discrimination are pervasive. All these add up to a grim picture. Unless strict laws are enacted and the government is committed to implementing them, children will continue to be abused, and their rights violated on various pretexts. The NGOs too need to be constantly monitored so that their activities do not lapse into purely financial ventures. The children deserve more from both.