Nepal - Committee on the Rights of the Child – Child Labor and the Right to Education – April 2016

The Advocates for Human Rights submitted a report addressing Nepal’s Compliance with the Convention on the Rights of the Child to the Committee on the Rights of the Child in April 2016.

Nepal ratified the Convention on the Rights of the Child in 1990, and has since ratified the Optional Protocol on the sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography and the Optional Protocol on the involvement of children in armed conflict. The Nepali Government has addressed barriers that children face in accessing their right to education, and increased investment in education has resulted in increasing enrollment, particularly for girls, children with disabilities, and children who are members of indigenous groups. While these are encouraging trends, hidden costs and other barriers prevent many from accessing their right to education.

Child labor, trafficking, and sexual exploitation remain a widespread problem in Nepal. Gaps in the country’s legal framework fail to adequately address and prevent dangerous child labor practices. Many have expressed concern that the economic impact and the disruption of education caused by the 2015 earthquake have increased the risk of child labor, trafficking, and sexual exploitation in Nepal.

The authors of the report propose, among others, the following recommendations for the Government of Nepal:

Recommendations regarding education

  • Make education compulsory and free throughout Nepal for all children without discrimination from pre-K through grade 10
  • Take steps to address barriers to education caused by hidden costs through scholarship or other programs for children who cannot afford books, uniforms, exam fees, etc.

Recommendations regarding child labor

  • Make all efforts, including taking both preventative measures and punitive measures against violators, to ensure that children to not engage in labor under harmful conditions
  • Strengthen the implementation and enforcement of legislation, policies, and regulations on child labor, including expanding the number of labor-inspector positions and filling all vacant positions with persons with strong qualifications in the area of child labor.

Recommendations regarding trafficking

  • Increase efforts to protect children from violence and trafficking in areas affected by the earthquakes and incorporate their needs in recovery and reconstruction efforts.
  • Increase law enforcement efforts against all forms of trafficking and against officials complicit in trafficking-related crimes.