The convention on the rights of the child submitted to committee on the rights of the child



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I. INTRODUCTION





  1. Nepal ratified the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) on 14 September 1990. Its Second Periodic Report has already been considered by the Committee on the Rights of the Child. Covering the period from April 2004 to October 2010, the present report combines the third, fourth and fifth periodic reports of Nepal. The present report is submitted by the Government of Nepal (GoN) pursuant to Article 44, paragraph 1 (b) of the CRC that highlights measures adopted and the progress made in guaranteeing the enjoyment of the rights recognized in the CRC. The report includes changes, developments and achievements since 2004, and responds to the relevant concluding observations on the second periodic report (CRC/C/15/Add.260) of Nepal by the Committee on the Rights of the Child in relevant sections and articles.

  2. After the peaceful People’s Movement in April 2006 and signing of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) in November 2006, Nepal is undergoing a series of socio-economic and political transformation within an overall framework of democratic polity. The mandate of the Movement was for peace, change, stability, and the establishment of a competitive multiparty democratic system of governance, rule of law, promotion and protection of human rights of people, full press freedom, and independent judiciary based on democratic values and norms. Human rights including child rights remain at the centre of the peace process and drafting of the new constitution, which in turn stands anchored in the principles of democracy, equity, inclusion and participation. The decision of the democratically elected Constituent Assembly (the “CA”) to declare Nepal as a Federal Democratic Republic on 28 May 2008 represents a rare peaceful transformation in the contemporary history. The transformation process firmly establishes the political, economic, cultural, and social rights of the people, as the bedrock of Nepal’s democratic process. People have come to the centre stage from the periphery, exclusion, and disadvantaged zone. People from diverse backgrounds now participate in decisions that shape their destiny. Nepal is presently engaged in building national democratic institutions to consolidate democratic gains, expedite the process of socio-economic transformation, and take the peace process to meaningful conclusion with the writing of a democratic constitution through the CA.



II. METHODOLOGY AND CONSULTATION PROCESS





  1. A drafting committee1 chaired by the Secretary of the Ministry of Women, Children and Social Welfare (MoWCSW), with representatives from different Ministries, UNICEF and non-governmental organizations was formed to prepare the present Report. UNICEF provided two facilitators in assisting the drafting committee under its technical assistance. A series of consultations were held in drafting, refining and finalizing the Report. In addition, two regional consultative workshops, one each in Biratnagar and Nepalgunj, were conducted with the support of the respective District Child Welfare Boards (DCWBs) in order to make the district level stakeholders aware of the process of reporting. The workshops were also helpful to collect regional experiences and the developments made in ensuring the rights of the child as well as to understand the existing challenges that need to be addressed.




  1. A national consultation on the draft report was organized to obtain inputs from various stakeholders, including development partners and civil society. The final draft was also shared among the relevant stakeholders.




  1. A child-friendly approach was adopted during the consultations with children so that they could also understand the process and importance of a state report under the Convention on Rights of the Child, recognise their role in the process, and voice their concerns. The major outcomes of and inputs from the consultations have been cited under appropriate sections and articles.




  1. Due importance has been given to the fact that the rights set forth in the Convention are indivisible and interrelated, and to analysing them from a holistic perspective.




  1. The Report has been prepared in accordance with the treaty-specific guidelines (CRC/C/58/Rev. 2) regarding the form and content of periodic reports (covering from 2002 to 2010) to be submitted by State parties under Article 44, paragraph 1 (b), of the CRC, adopted by the Committee at its fifty-fifth session (13 September ‑ 01 October 2010).



III. TREATY SPECIFIC REPORT




  1. GENERAL MEASURES OF IMPLEMENTATION (ARTICLES 4, 42 AND 44, PARA. 6, OF THE CONVENTION)





  1. The CPA consists of a number of commitments related to the rights of the child, including an end to misuse of schools, teachers and students for political purposes. Article 7.6 of CPA also aims to ensure the rights of women and children and commits to provide special protection to children and women, prohibiting all types of violence against women and children, such as child labour, sexual exploitation, harassment, and abuse.




  1. The Interim Constitution of Nepal, 2007 (‘Constitution’) is the fundamental law. It keeps democracy, peace, prosperity, progressive socioeconomic changes and sovereignty, integrity, independence and dignity of the country at the centre and provides a political system that fully upholds, inter alia, the universally recognized basic human rights and establishes rights of all citizens to education, health, housing, employment and food sovereignty. Its cardinal focus is on proportional inclusion, constructive recognition of diversity and attainment of social justice through inclusive, democratic and progressive restructuring of the state.




  1. The Constitution protects the rights of the child as a fundamental right and incorporates: right to identity and name; right to nurturing, basic health and social security; right against physical, mental or other form of exploitation; right of the helpless, orphaned, mentally retarded, displaced, vulnerable and conflict victims and street children to special facilities from the State; right of minors against their employment, engagement or use in a factory, mine and other similar hazardous work.




  1. A range of rights is recognized as absolute and non-derogable, which cannot be suspended even in the state of emergency. These include- the right to life, equality, personal liberty, justice, social justice, environment, health, education and culture, employment and social security, labour, religion, freedom to form political parties and associations, rights of the child and women, rights against torture, exploitation, exile, untouchability, racial discrimination and closure or seizure of media or press, and right to constitutional remedies and the remedy of habeas corpus. The rights guaranteed by the Constitution with respect to child are described under the subsequent sections of the Report.




  1. In pursuance of the recommendations of the Committee on the Rights of the Child in its concluding observations on the initial and second periodic reports, Nepal has become party to various Conventions during the reporting period. It ratified (a) the Optional Protocol to CRC on the Involvement of Children in Armed Conflict in 2007; (b) the ILO Convention No. 105 concerning Abolition of Forced Labour in 2007; (c) the ILO Convention No. 169, concerning Indigenous and Tribal Peoples in 2007; (d) the Optional Protocol to the CRC on the Sale of Children, Child Prostitution and Child Pornography in 2006; (e) the Optional Protocol to Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) in 2006; (f) the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) Convention on Preventing and Combating Trafficking in Women and Children for Prostitution in 2006; (g) the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) and its Optional Protocol in 2010; (h) the SAARC Convention on Regional Arrangements for Promotion of Child Welfare in South Asia in 2006; and (i) the ILO Convention No. 182 concerning Worst Forms of Child Labour in 2004.




  1. Nepal has also signed the SAARC Colombo Statement on Children of South Asia, declared on 10 July 2009 to enhance and make effective child protection efforts - Nepal has enacted the Domestic Violence (Control and Punishment) Act 2009, and the Human Trafficking (Control) Act, 2007, during the reporting period. In addition, the GoN enforced Human Trafficking (Control) Regulation, 2008. Amendments were also made in 2008 to the relevant Chapter in Muluki Ain (General Code) with regard to abduction of children.




  1. The National Policy and Plan of Action on Disabilities, 2006 (formulated in line with the Extended Decade Work Plan (2003–2012) for Asia Pacific Region on People with Disabilities) have been implemented. The National Plan of Action (NPA) for Reintegration of Children Affected by Armed Conflict, 2007 has been implemented. The GoN has been implementing the National Plan of Action for Preventing and Responding to Gender-Based Violence (GBV) since November 2009. The NPA on GBV has provided a solid framework for action in favour not only of women, but also of children, and in particular, young girls. The NPA against Trafficking in Women and Children for Commercial and Sexual Exploitation has been implemented. Similarly, the National Master Plan on Child Labour (2004-14) has been implemented. The development of a National Child Policy is in the process.




  1. The Ministry of Federal Affairs and Local Development (MoFALD), in collaboration with development partners, has developed conceptual framework and guidelines on Child Friendly Local Governance (CFLG), in particular, provisioning child protection and referral mechanism. It has been implemented in 23 districts and is in the process of covering all the 75 districts of the country. Under the CFLG, District and Village Child Protection Committees (VCPCs) are envisioned. The MoFALD has included a provision in the blended block grant guidelines for Village Development Committee (VDC), Municipalities and District Development Committees (DDC) to allocate 15 per cent of their capital grant to fund activities targeted for declaring child-friendly VDC, Municipality and DDC under the CFLG framework. Local bodies have also started programs to top-up this budget by going beyond 15 per cent ceiling in those VDCs adopting child friendly local governance strategies.




  1. The Comprehensive Standard for Operation and Management of Residential Child Care Home has been formulated by MoWCSW in close collaboration with Central Child Welfare Board (CCWB) in 2009 and child homes are being monitored for its compliance. An Emergency Child Rescue Fund has been established as envisioned in the current Three Year Plan (TYP).




  1. The Juvenile Justice Coordination Committee (JJCC) established in 2007. The National Poverty Alleviation Fund (PAF) has been supporting the infrastructure development for children’s education and health. The GoN is implementing The Gender Equality and Empowerment of Women Project from 2007.




  1. After two years of negotiations and intensive consultations, an Action Plan, drawn up pursuant to Security Council Resolution 1612 and the recommendation of Security Council Working Group on Children and Armed Conflict, was adopted for the discharge of the disqualified Maoist army personnel verified as minors, as part of the decision to discharge all disqualified personnel. Between January and February 2010, Verified Minors (2,973) and Late Recruits (1,035) were discharged from the Maoist cantonments.




  1. With the completion of the discharge process, the UN interagency approach was extended to provide rehabilitation support to the discharged. A set of four packages, which include options for vocational training, micro-enterprise, education and health-related training have been offered to the discharged minors and late-recruits through UNDP (vocational training and micro-enterprise), UNICEF (education) and UNFPA (health-related trainings), while the ILO has complemented efforts by enhancing capacity of trainers.




  1. The GoN has pursued the process of consulting with children’s representatives during plan and policy formulation processes at the national and local levels. In addition, the CA initiated consultations with children in the process of preparing the new constitution by interacting with child clubs and network of child clubs.

  2. Over 13,291 child clubs have been formed in 52 districts. CCWB, in collaboration with development partners, has been implementing child-friendly VDC and Municipality programs in 16 districts.




  1. The GoN has recruited Child Rights Officers (CROs) in 50 districts so far and has a plan to reach the remaining 25 districts in the near future. The CROs have worked closely with DCWBs, and Women and Children Offices (WCOs) in protecting the rights of the child. Various development partners and civil society organizations are supporting this initiative and providing training to the CROs. The work of CROs is making an impact at the district level in protecting the rights of the child.




  1. Under Section 23 of Chapter 2 of the Election Code of Conduct, 2007, political parties and candidates are prohibited from involving children under 16 in any kind of procession, mass meeting or rally, or in any election-related publicity activity.



  1. Remedies for violations





  1. Nepal has a comprehensive legal regime for the protection of the rights of the child. The Children’s Act, 1992 incorporates almost all the rights of the child, defined as one who is below 16, and is based on a child-friendly approach. This Act, as well as the criminal justice system of Nepal, is geared towards the rehabilitation of child offenders, through various institutions, including children reform homes. Juvenile justice related regulation has prescribed child-friendly procedures to be adopted while trying cases involving children. There are juvenile benches in 40 out of 75 district courts. Six courts are implementing the program for the improvement of legal and institutional framework for the protection and promotion of the rights of the child, which will be gradually extended to other courts.




  1. The Constitution has upgraded the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) to a constitutional body. Article 132 of the Constitution vests primary responsibility to the Commission to protect and promote human rights of Nepalese people. The Commission can conduct inquiries and investigations on its own or upon a petition or complaint filed to it regarding violations of human rights and abetment thereon, and carelessness and negligence in the prevention of violations of the human rights by any person, organization or authority concerned. The GoN has strengthened the measures for the implementation of the recommendations of the NHRC in the field of protection and promotion of the rights of the child. The NHRC has already set up a Child Rights Unit that receives individual complaints on the violation of the rights of children and sends recommendations to the concerned ministries or departments.




  1. The GoN has implemented a Three-Year National Action Plan on Human Rights (2010/11 – 2012/13) with the following objectives: a) to reflect the commitment of the GoN towards human rights in actual implementation, (b) to strengthen the human rights situation of the citizens of Nepal, particularly of the people living below the poverty line, orphans, Dalits, Madheshis, indigenous nationalities and disadvantaged communities, (c) to mainstream the issues of human rights in development plans and programs, (d) to incorporate human rights in development programs and to develop collective ownership concept for their promotion and awareness raising, and (e) to mobilize national and international resources in the promotion and protection of human rights.




  1. The GoN has adopted a zero-tolerance strategy in relation to child recruitment in armed groups. Efforts have been directed to protect children and ensure that the children recruited during the armed conflict have access to rehabilitation and reintegration measures.




  1. The media exercise full freedom of expression. The GoN firmly believes that a fully responsible media is the key stakeholder of any democratic polity. A good number of daily, weekly, fortnightly and monthly newspapers in English and vernacular languages are being published. There is also a growth of private satellite TV channels, community radios and print media. The media is active in disseminating information on various issues of national importance, such as human rights, including the rights of the child, as well as development and good governance, with the fundamental aim of generating dialogue and consensus on such issues.The media and civil society organizations act as the agencies to flag the issues of violation of rights. The media is playing a positive role in reporting violation of rights and raising awareness on the rights of the child. Many electronic as well as print media have separate programs/pages on children's issues.



(B) Comprehensive National Strategy





  1. The MoWCSW is the focal institution for coordination and collaboration with other sectoral ministries. It also has the responsibility of formulating sectoral policies and legislations in the best interests of children. Other ministries of the GoN work closely with it to ensure the rights of the child. Notable among those are the Ministry of Health and Population (MoHP); Ministry of Education (MoE); Ministry of Federal Affairs and Local Development (MoFALD); Ministry of Labour and Employment (MoLE); Ministry of Peace and Reconstruction (MoPR); Ministry of Home Affairs (MoHA); and Ministry of Law Justice Constituent Assembly and Parliamentary Affairs (MoLJCAPA).




  1. The International Relations and Human Rights Committee of the Legislature-Parliament gives necessary directions and suggestions to the GoN, and evaluates and monitors governmental activities on human rights. It considers and deliberates on annual reports of the NHRC and the Attorney General.




  1. Various institutional arrangements have also been made by the GoN and development partners. These institutions include women and children service centres under the police in all the 75 districts, and District and Village Child Protection Committees (D/VCPC) at various levels. Similarly, the Child Help Line (104) and Emergency Number (1098) established by the MoWCSW and CCWB are adequately functional in their places to protect the rights of the child.




  1. The CCWB is a national level focal point for children’s issues and is formally entrusted with the responsibility for: the development of monitoring mechanisms regarding the rights of the child; the development of a national level resource centre on children; advocating on children’s issues at all levels; coordination of policies and practices on children among the ministries and civil society, development partners, and others; strengthening and mobilizing DCWBs who are responsible for the coordination of children’s programs at the local level; promoting the rights of the child; formulation of national policies and priorities concerning children; and mainstreaming children’s issues into all the development activities. In October 2010, the erstwhile Department of Women was empowered with an additional responsibility of taking care of children’s issues, and was renamed as Department of Women and Children.




  1. DCWBs have been established in all the 75 districts to ensure the implementation of the CRC. DCWBs are also responsible for monitoring and regulating children homes, reform homes, and other child welfare centres in the district.




  1. The GoN allocated a budget of NRs 108.1 million, which is almost double from the previous year (2008-09), for programs related to children, which also include programs mentioned in the Three-Year Interim Plan (TYIP), such as the Permanent Children’s Fund for emergency help and relief for children at risk2. The TYIP has reflected a clear commitment to take child-friendly local governance forward and ensure the ethical and meaningful participation of children in decisions that affect them.




  1. The concept of child protection systems in line with the CRC is in the process of being fully realized and integrated into policies and strategies. The new Bill on the Act Concerning Children, framed for amending and integrating existing Children’s Act 1992, which has been tabled in the Legislature Parliament, is expected to provide the opportunity to define child protection systems and mechanisms. It also defines the processes for referral and clarifies roles, functions, practices and obligations of all key actors who are directly and indirectly responsible to provide protection to vulnerable and needy children, including victims.




  1. The civil society has evolved into a vibrant institution in promoting and protecting human rights. The Social Welfare Council (SWC) is responsible for the promotion, facilitation, coordination, monitoring and evaluation of NGOs that provide social services in Nepal. It derives its mandate from the Association Registration Act, 1977, Social Welfare Act, 1992 and the Social Welfare Rules 1992. Some 34,000 NGOs are affiliated with the SWC and about 30 per cent of them are working for child welfare and development. In addition, the civil society has worked closely with the GoN and its various line agencies and has played a crucial role in the implementation of development projects and basic services delivery, reaching all across Nepal, especially the remote areas.




  1. The GoN has remained effortful in achieving the State’s fundamental economic objective of transforming national economy into an independent, self-reliant and progressive economy, through equitable distribution of economic gains, social justice and elimination of economic inequalities. A comprehensive Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper (PRSP) that is also known as the Tenth Plan (2002-2007) was prepared in order to streamline and intensify efforts to reduce poverty in accordance with Millennium Development Goal (MDG) targets. Nepal’s plans, policies and programs have taken into account children’s need to survival, development, and protection.




  1. In order to support the targeted programs, the PAF has provided resources directly to its beneficiaries i.e. the vulnerable or marginalized groups or communities. The PAF has four pillars of activities: social mobilization and empowerment, income generation and self-employment, community infrastructure and capacity building. It has reached the poor through partnership with Partnership Organizations (PO) and Community Based Organizations (CBOs).




  1. Remittances play an important role in the overall economy, accounting for 23 per cent of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in 20093. The gap between total government expenditure and revenue mobilization persists and development expenditure significantly relies on foreign aid. Although down from its high level of close to 7 per cent of GDP in the 1980s to around 3 per cent of GDP in 20094, foreign aid is continuing to play a key role in Nepal’s economy and in managing the country’s budget deficit.




  1. The annual average economic growth rate is 3.4 per cent, which is a reflection of existing problems including unemployment, poverty and increasing income disparity. The economic growth rate was affected due to decrease in the growth rate in the agriculture sector and low growth in financial intermediaries, industry and mines, electricity, gas and water in the non-agriculture sector. The percent of population below the poverty line has been reduced to 25.4 from 30.8 in 2004. Despite the achievements, some challenges persist. Structural reforms and development efforts have not been able to increase rural income. Poverty remains a formidable challenge; rural areas need effective employment and income generating programmes; infrastructure development has not been spatial; economic growth is not regionally balanced, and economic distribution needs to be more equitable. The inflation rate has also increased in recent years.




  1. Significant progress has been achieved in the education sector with an encouraging increase in the enrolment rate. The GoN is implementing the School Sector Reform Program (SSRP) to improve the basic physical infrastructure, supply of teachers to meet teacher/student ratio, parity in the School Leaving Certificate (SLC) results between community schools and private schools, and to increase the capability to reduce gender and regional disparities in accessing education.




  1. Despite high achievements in maternal mortality rate, infant and child mortality rate, total fertility rate of women aged 15-49 years, and the delivery of quality health service in remote areas remain a challenge.




  1. The GoN has formulated various policies for women, persons with disabilities, children, youths, and elderly citizens, and is implementing them.




  1. In recent years, progress has been made in poverty alleviation, revenue collection, rural electrification, road construction, school-enrolment rate, and financial and cooperative sectors. However, similar expected progress was not achieved in agriculture, trade and industry sectors, which are the backbones of the economy.




  1. Nepal is receiving grants and loans as well as technical assistance (TA) from its development partners for socio-economic development. In particular, TA is utilized for institutional strengthening, human resource development, specialization, transfer of expertise and technical knowledge, and formulation and development of projects and programs. The GoN is committed towards realizing maximum achievements by mobilizing the TA resources in line with the country’s development needs and priorities.



(C) Publicizing the Convention (article 42)





  1. The MoWCSW has published the Convention in both Nepali and English, and it has been publicized through the MoWCSW and CCWB at the central level and through the DCWB at the district level. The Convention has also been published in all the major documents pertaining to children e.g. The State of Children of Nepal (an annual publication of the CCWB), a Compilation of National and International Laws Related to Children (published in Nepali by the MoWCSW). The MoLJCAPA has also published a Compilation of Human Rights Instruments and has posted it on its website.

(D) Publication of reports (article 44)





  1. The last periodic report (CRC/C/65/Add.30) submitted to the Committee on the Rights of the Child was published by the MoWCSW in 2005. This report was also translated to Nepali and disseminated.




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