Picture Courtesy: theguardian.com
Simply, the word child means any human under the age of 18. Below this age they are considered as physically, mentally & socially ill-matured. Child are the innocent, curious, active & enthusiastic beings by nature.
Every human beings needs freedom, justice & peace. Children naturally wants to enjoy their rights in a friendly environment. They learn & experience new things which makes them responsible. This is possible only if they can enjoy their rights without hindrance. Rights are the basic requirements to enhance & promote their personality development. The basic child rights includes proper food, shelter, health care & education. Beyond this the essential child rights are as follows.
Rights to identity: - Each & every children have their rights to name & nationality from birth, ensuring their protection from the country. If the birth of a child is not registered then they will not be recognized by the country & they will not get care & education.
Rights to health: - All the children should be cared for if sick, be well fed and kept away from harmful drugs.
Rights to education: - All the children have the right to get education & develop training skills which prepare them for their future.
Rights to a family life: - All the children have the right to live with their family. They also have the right to live with others if their own family do not take care of them.
Rights to an opinion: - Each & every children have the rights to express their views, feelings & thoughts. They also have the rights to be informed & give their opinion.
Rights to equality & respect: - Children have equal rights. They should not be discriminated. They should not be differ by race, religion, language
Rights to be protected from violence: - Children be protected from violence. They should not be forced in such activities which affects them physically & mentally. They should not be obliged to suffer or inflict ill treatment or any act of sexual & physical violence.
Rights to be protected from exploitation: - A child should not be obliged to work in difficult or dangerous condition in order to survive or support his family.
Rights to be protected from armed conflicts: - Children’s should not be used in war. All children must be protected from war & its consequences.
Children aged below 14 are not considered eligible for employment. But in Nepal the condition of children is not uniform. There are many children can’t go school. Some of them are children of poor parents. Their parents compel them to work. Because of poverty they can’t get a balanced diet & are not properly cared for. Orphans & street children are in miserable conditions. They cannot get even food to live on. Most of them we see sleeping on the road sides or the temples & other public places. Their condition is worse than a dog’s. Most of them beg walking on the roadsides, temples & public places. Some of the children are working in the hotels, factories, coal mines, carpet industries, restaurant & bars, public vehicles like micro-bus as a conductor. Some poor children are kept by the rich as servants, where they are compelled to do lots of works.
Because of the social & economic conditions, the child labor issue is a rather difficult problem to tackle. Some of the major NGO’s like CWIN, SOS, UNDP,UNICEF especially support the orphans, street children & children who are not getting the care & love from their family & society.
The national master plan on child labor has also emphasized on the issue & has launched many activities for the development of child & elimination of child labor. This issue has been taken up by the UN agencies, the World Bank, NGOs & INGOs working in child rights in Nepal.
In order to provide & promote child rights all the concerned sectors should pay their complete attention. Firstly the children should be provide basic needs such as food, shelter & clothes. Education should be made compulsory for all the children. The discrimination between sons & daughters should be avoided. All the street children, orphan, poor, uncared & unloved child should be fed, cared for & educated.
Although awareness against the child rights & child labor is rapidly increasing, many organizations are supporting child rights but the ignorance is still remaining. We found many street child sleeping on roadside, begging at temples, working at restaurants, public vehicles, factories & other places. The government should take steps to completely ban the child labor. At least basic school level education should be compulsory for all the children. Every adult should be responsible for promoting child rights. All the legal provisions to stop child labor & to promote child rights should be strictly implemented. Then only we can hope for a better future for children.