Kathmandu, Nov. 21: When the country was observing the International Child Rights Day on Wednesday, the National Child Rights Council (NCRC), a government entity, announced that the overall status of children in Nepal had improved in recent years.
The country has achieved progress in child health, child mortality rate, immunisation, child education, abolishing child marriage and introducing child friendly laws due to the government’s priority to the development of children, the NCRC said.
Releasing a report ‘Condition of Children in Nepal 2076,’ on the occasion of the International Child Rights Day, the NCRC highlighted some notable progress Nepal has made in the child rights sectors.
Highlighting the progress since fiscal year 1990/1991, the report stated that compared to the past two decades, the country has included expanded and progressive child rights provisions in the Constitution.
“Now the country has laws like the Children’s Act 2018, Local Government Operation Act, Free and Compulsory Education Act, Social Security Act, Safe Maternity and Reproductive Heath Rights, among others, to protect child rights, read the report.
The government has also established various state and local level bodies to look after the issues of children, said Administrative head of NCRC Deependra Kafle.
Similarly, the government has implemented the national action plans like the national master plan to eliminate child labour and nutrition and policy to end child marriage, child friendly local governance, social security programmes and many more, he added.
Similarly, the net student enrolment rate in primary level was 96.5 per cent in 2018 while 475,003 students appeared in the Secondary Education Examination (SEE) in the same year.
There are 35,055 schools across the country, of them, 322 schools have been developed as model schools throughout the country.
The report has also indicated some negative impacts on the child rights sector.The number of missing children in 2017/18 was 2,330 which increased to 3,422 in 2018/19.Similarly, 1,420 rape cases against the girls aged below 18 years were reported in the current fiscal year and 995 in the last fiscal year.
Altogether 382 children have been sheltered in the eight child rehabilitation centers last fiscal year and the number has reached 821 in the current fiscal year, the report said.
Gauri Pradhan, senior human rights activist, hailed the changing attitude of the society toward the children.
“These days, the society is getting more sensitive toward children rights, owing to which, serious child rights violation cases like gender discrimination, sex selective abortion and corporal punishment have been declining,” said Pradhan.
He stressed the need for investing more on children’s development to achieve the national goal of “Prosperous Nepal, Happy Nepali.”
Expressing his worries over the declining population of under 18, Pradhan said, this might hamper the overall development of the country.
As per the Census of 2011, the population of people aged below 18 years is 41.84 per cent of the total population, which is gradually declining.
In 1991, the percentage was 48.26 per cent and 45.72 per cent in 2001.Three years after the ratification of the treaty, Nepal formulated Children’s Act 1992. Since then the NCRC has been recording data related to the status and condition of children in the country.
The International Day of Child Rights was celebrated across the globe, including Nepal on Wednesday with a call for ensuring the rights of children.