Ensure child rights through amendment, say activistsChildren’s right to equality must be included in the constitution through the amendment process in order to ensure that other rights for children are implemented effectively, child right activists said.
Children’s right to equality must be included in the constitution through the amendment process in order to ensure that other rights for children are implemented effectively, child right activists said.
Child right campaigners argued that exercise of discrimination against children differs in comparison to that of adults and that including children’s right to equality will help curb discrimination based on their individual situation as well as special conditions of their parents or legal guardians.
“A separate Article or clause must be added in the amendment process mentioning no child may be discriminated on the basis of religion, race, caste, tribe, sex, physical conditions, health condition, matrimonial status, economic condition, origin, language, or geographical region or ideology or on the ground of the child’s mother, father or legal guardian,” said advocate Indu Tuladhar.
Tuldhar added that right to equality is mentioned in Article 2 of the Convention on the Rights of Child, which has also been ratified by Nepal. She also expressed fear that children will be deprived of compensation until the provision in the current constitution is amended.
According to Milan Dharel, a child rights expert, the constitution has briefly spoken about child rights but it will not be able to incorporate the issues of children at large unless such provisions are broadly defined.
Article 39.10 states that children will be entitled to receive compensation from perpetrator in case of crimes against them. It, however, is silent on how to receive compensation if the perpetrator absconds or is bankrupt or it is not possible for state to force the perpetrator to provide due compensation to the victim.
“Until Article 39.2 is amended by stating a victim child shall be entitled to compensation from the perpetrator as provided by the law. If the perpetrator is not a position to provide compensation, the child shall have the right to compensation, protection, rehabilitation and restitution from the state,” said Dharel.
Dharel said the constitution has remained silent on political misuse of schools and children and that it must be incorporated in the constitution through amendment or through creation of new acts and regulations directed towards ending the political misuse of children and keeping schools free from political interference.
Likewise, experts said right to citizenship and appointment of an independent child rights commissioner are other issues the constitution needs to address.
Clause 6 (b) of Article 248 regarding qualification of the members of National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) mentions ‘working in the field of rights and welfare of children’. Child right practitioners, however, said it must be changed to ‘an independent child rights commissioner shall be appointed within the structure of NHRC in order to ensure protection and fulfilment of child rights.