20 JULY 2015
Children's Rights to Education abused in Nepal
Ms. Shachi G.C.
United Nations Association of Nepal
Education is a vitally important factor that empowers every individual, youth and children morally, intellectually and physically as well. It is values that open the inner eye of the learners and enables him/her to attain the knowledge, skill and experience needed for the smooth running of one's life. It promotes the empowerment of the persons concerned in all areas and aspect of their life. In today's world there are many vital issues of the child rights issues of international concern and importance. The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child adopted on 20th November 1989 is the first legal instrument which guarantees the rights of the children across the globe. Children in the poor countries of the world have been falling a victim to the hands of the violators and abusers of their rights. Poverty, illiteracy and ignorance are the major factors which form the basis of their misery, discrimination against them and their exploitation.
Education is regarded as an end in itself and as a means for all the individuals to flourish and grow. Right to education is the most important rights among several other rights mentioned in the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child. Everyone has the right to education which should be free for all up to some levels according to the rule and regulation of the government. The article 28 and 29 of the UN Convention laid stress on children's right to education and their right to develop their personality. The Constitution of Nepal 2015 guaranties children's to basic education and states such education should be free and compulsory.
Violation of Child Rights
Despite provisions for the rights of children mentioned in the Constitution of Nepal and in the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child there are several cases of child abuses. It is due to ignorance and illiteracy the parents of the children prefer their children to do domestic work rather than to send them to go to school for their education. Therefore many children are employed either in carpet making, some stone quarries, portering, or employed as bounded labor. In view of this bleak scenario of the condition of Nepalese children it is necessary to combat the evils of, child labor, child abuses and children's illiteracy. Nepalese Children are kept deprived of their right to education and other rights also. Many children, having no access to school, have become beggar and street children. Children from the poor family leave their house at early age and resort to begging and or working either in home or in factory. A Larger number of such children are domestic servant or factory worker and are deprived of having education. Therefore education should be provided free to every children, poor or rich. It is through providing education and enabling them to have access to schooling that their rights to education will be promoted. Children are abused physically, sexually, psychologically and emotionally as well. They are neglected even in their own home and outside as well. These abuses such as physical, sexual, psychological, neglect and emotional abuses hinder the development of the child's personality.
Most of the political parties in Nepal have been using school children to achieve their political goals. They have created their party wings in schools and colleges involving school children and young students. Due to the political pressure of the party concerned students have also formed their union in the education institutions and take affiliation of the party concerned. Children's rights are found immensely abused and violated during the time of the civil war waged by Maoist Party. The objective of waging people's war (1996-2006) by Communist Party Maoist was to dismantle the democratic system of government and to establish communist rule. To achieve this goal Maoist resorted to recruiting the children as soldiers and used them as soldiers during the civil war. The children were trained to use gun and other weapons to fight in the civil war. Maoists had held many students as hostages to serve their purposes. To use children during the war by Maoist is an example of the violation of children's right to education. Maoist cadres had captured many school building for the shelter of their party cadres. This is another example of the violation of children's right to education and deprivation of having their education. In many cases teachers were also compelled to join rebellion forces and were unable to teach the students. In the absence of teachers, students' right to education remain violated. Due to the pressure put on them by Maoist workers the childrens started working as informers and messengers about the movement of government forces. Children's right to education was completely violated during civil war time.
Project on Right to Education
United Nations Association of Nepal is an organization which is committed to promote and protect the rights of the children mentioned in the Constitution of Nepal, UN Convention of the Right of Children and the Principle of ILO. As a team leader of UNA of Nepal I conducted a project entitled 'Promoting Right to Education: Elimination of Child Abuses' (2013 - 2016) in Nuwakot District. Many school children, their guardians and teachers were the participants at the interaction on 'The Children's Right to Education'. As a team leader I highlighted the importance of the increasing awareness among students about their rights and encourage to fight to combat the evils of using children for the purpose of achieving the goals of political parties. This program left good impact on many participants except few who were Maoists. During the interaction I had made references to the recruitment of the children as soldier by Maoist party during civil war. Some Maoists participants did not like the interaction program and directly or indirectly oppose it. My interaction made them angry and invited for me threat from them.
As a team leader I organized programs relating to project in various places wherever I organized program on enhancing awareness among the children about their right to education and about the need of eliminating their abuses, Maoists is come on our way and disturb our program by their violent act. In course of implementation of this project I have to make children aware that how their right to education is violated and how they were abused and exploited by political parties especially by Maoist party. I warn the Maoist that they shouldn't abuse the rights of the children and let them enjoy free life. My opposition and condemnation to the policy of Maoist party of using children for the political purpose enraged them and made them intolerant. It is one of the reasons why Maoist were so aggressive against me.
As a program coordinator of the project I always stood in opposition to use of schools by Maoist party as a venue for their program. I was compelled to opposed Maoists group because they started using schools as a venue for their political program. To me using schools for the political purpose of any party is a violation of the right of children and the teacher. Such activities of Maoist party not only disturbs and hinders the teaching and learning of the students but also set very bad tradition and unhealthy environment at the schools. The activity of Maoist party to use children in their political rally and public meeting is another reason why I disagree with Maoist workers and oppose them. I feel that using school children in the rally and public meeting by Maoists party is not only the violation of human rights but also a crime against children.
I am of the opinion that even after the signing of Comprehensive Peace Accord Nepal with Government of Nepal, Communist Party Maoist is not found sincere and committed to the this Peace Accord. Because they work for the interest of their party in flagrant violation of other's democratic rights and children's rights to education. The school children are, even today, used by Maoist in a different ways. Instead of carrying gun on their soldier during civil war, the children are compelled to hold at their hand the flag of Maoist party. I have been opposing the use of children at rally and public meeting organized by Maoist party. I think that all these political phenomena of Maoist party shows that they will not discontinue to use children and respect their right to education.
As a team leader of the project 'Promoting Right to Education: Elimination of Child Abuses' (2013 - 2016) I have been advocating for the protection of children's right to education and elimination of child abuses. My commitment to this project and expansion of this project in other district has annoyed and angered Maoists worker. Despite their threat which I have been receiving from them I will continue this project for the larger interest of children. In my opinion, education is a human right which should be accessible to every child, without any discrimination. It is through providing and guarantying the education for the children of all level that a peaceful and prosperous society can be created. The government should strictly follow and translate the provision relating to children's right enshrined in the Constitution of Nepal, UN Convention of the Right of Child and the policy and principles of ILO. I appeal all stakeholder and political parties to respect children's right to education and join us in combating child abuses.