2 years ago
Scattered Sparks of Smile
KATHMANDU, Nov 20: Upon asking about child rights, 12-year-old Santosh Bardewa gives an endearing smile asking his nine-year-old friend Suman BK, who in return gives him a smile as a reply. They had met two years ago on the streets of Boudha where both roamed around as mendicants begging for money with the pedestrians. At the end of the day, they are usually able to collect Rs 150 which ensures to quell their hungry stomach and give away the remaining money to their family members.
It was a matter of astonishment to know that the children’s family members were fully aware of their kids’ activities which lent a grievous sight of how child rights are violated at home and parents being the perpetrator in the first place.
26-year-old Sabina Khatun runs her life as a vagrant with her newborn Sabah Mohamad. She wonders whole day around Sundhara with her son to feed both their stomach. Despite the fact that her son has fallen sick very often since his birth and lost weight, Sabina seems less concerned of his deteriorating health and says that she is helpless but to look after his son under such circumstances.
The alleys of Kathmandu and many areas across Nepal have child workers in high numbers who are employed with many burdensome works. These alleys have been familiar to Sahajad Alam, a 13-year-old boy who at the phase of playing with toy cars indeed runs a cart containing toy cars, balloons and dolls to sell out in the market. He studies in grade five and instead of making a fun time of his vacation he sells the toys in order to make money and give to his parents.
November 20 marks an important day as ‘Child Rights Day’ which recognizes the civil, economic, social and cultural rights of all children. The General Assembly of United Nations Organization first adopted the Convention on the Child Rights (CRC) in 1989. The Convention has defined and ensured the Child Rights related to the Right to Life, Right to Protection, Right to Development and Right to Participation. Moreover, as per the provisions defined in the convention, the responsibility of a child comes under the ‘tripartite frame work’ ensuring family, society and State to safeguard the rights of a Child.
Nepal ratified the CRC on September 14, 1990 however, even after the elapse of more than two decades of ratifying the convention; child bus assistants and the practices of child slavery are daily occurrences in public transportations and many other areas of the country insisting to the flagrant violation of the child rights.
Child Rights being one of the prominent issues that we have been talking about ever since the time it demanded the urge to address and safeguard the rights of such vulnerable lives on earth. Such groups who step in their journey of life learning and experiencing things for the first time should only be indulged with is education. But to their dismay at such initial stage of learning or playing, their hands are found carrying heavy loads, tapping to transportation vehicles or shaped to do the dishes in order to feed their stomach.
“When we started talking on this issue back in 1987, it was less concerned issue as people didn’t believe that child possessed any sort of rights. It was tough for the policy makers, stakeholders and other actors to understand of child rights. It has now become a political agenda and an issue for public concern because now many questions are raised by the general public which is a great achievement in itself,” said Deputy Manager of CWIN, Sumnima Tuladhar.
Another improvement that we have witnessed is that children are gradually becoming aware of their rights and are able to demand rights. Children are empowered to a good extent and becoming the agent of changes themselves. “Although we have formulated many progressive laws the problem lies in the implementation of those laws and regulations. A chain of solidarity is significant to root out the problems related to child rights as we can’t invite rapid changes and secure the lives of many children by putting a perpetrator behind the bars,” added Tuladhar.
“We are intimidated by political activist and threatened by perpetrators in various sectors. As an organization we believe in solidarity of every sector to play their roles in eradicating such problems that affect and obliterate the innocent lives. Although we achieved so much with policies and laws in place but what we do not have in place is the proper structure and mechanisms so that the essence of these policies is put into practice.”
“The ratifying of many conventions and treaties would not bring impactful result unless we become sensitive toward child rights.
The responsibility does not only lie upon NGOs or INGOs or the authoritative body but also lies upon every individual claiming to be the citizen of the country”, said Child Protection Coordinator at VSO Nepal, Tej Maya Dangol.
It is only with the fulfillment of these rights that eventually contributes to an important dimension of human rights. As ensuring and securing child rights in every respect serves as a base to the fulfillment of human rights, child rights needs to be mandatorily protected.
Nepal has invited improvements with many the amendments recently made in Child’s Act however; we are unable to invite change until and unless every parent safeguards the rights of their children at home. With every laws being passed and conventions being ratified may we grow in mature terms to implement the written documents in our lives and stand united to fight and root out this burgeoning problem to eventually dismantle the vicious circle of ‘child rights violation’.