KATHMANDU, June 20: Plan International has announced new partnership with South Asian Association for Regional Co-operation in Law (SAARCLAW).
In press statement released on Tuesday, the organization has said that this collaboration will drive advocacy and policy efforts focused on children’s’ rights, with an emphasis on girls, gender equality and child protection.
According to the press released after the signing ceremony, the organization has stressed that this partnership will focus on the following efforts and areas of interest, including harmonizing of existing regional and country specific laws, policies and regulatory frameworks guiding promotion, protection and realization of children’s rights, and in line with internationally recognized and accepted human rights standards with particular emphasis on girls and women equity and equality and child protection. Likewise, it will harmonize laws, policies, regulatory frameworks defining gender equality and justice. This collaboration will make joint advocacy to advance legal systems regulating the prevention and elimination of harmful practices affecting children’s overall wellbeing and development, health, dignity and integrity, particularly focusing on child early and forced marriage and will support supporting community-based work that advances children’s rights and equality for girls.
“We believe in the value of powerful partnership to tackle the root causes of poverty and discrimination that deny millions of children their human rights. By working with SAARCLAW, we are jointly accelerating efforts to ensure legal and policy changes to guarantee children in South Asia a life driven by equality, justice and dignity,” said Sven Coppens, Country Director for Plan International in Nepal during the program.
Speaking at the same occasion, Prof. Purna Man Shakya, Vice President SAARCLAW, said , "Women and children’s rights are human rights. This is stated clearly in the Constitutions of South Asian Countries as fundamental rights and within international instruments such as the Convention on the Rights of the Child and the Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination against Women, which was ratified by all SAARC countries. “
South Asia has the highest incidence of child marriage in the world, with approximately 1 in 2 girls married before their 18th birthday. While the partnership between Plan International and SAARCLAW will address child rights in all its forms, the initial priority will focus on national laws regulating child marriage related aspects.