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The Cost of 10- year Political Conflict on Children in Nepal

Research Paper

Karun K.Karki Social Welfare Policy- SOCW 511-001 MSW School of Social Work Southern Illinois University Carbondale

Submitted to Dr. Reichert April 27, 2011

Cost of 10- year Political Conflict on Childrenin Nepal

In this paper, Im not criticizing any of the theorists or the politicians rather putting forward the real plight of children as well as women who have been politically victimized. There is no doubt that history is written by the winners. The oppressors voice is never heard. They are always marginalized from the mainstream society, culture and politics.I dont know how much Im correct, but many of the scholars and researchers sayWar is mostly driven by men, yet too often women and children are the primary victims; not because they are vulnerable per se but because the circumstance of conflict makes them vulnerable. Illustrating an example from my own country, Nepal, I want to relate this burning issue from the global perspective in connection with the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, The United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights; Convention on the Rights of the Child and The United Nations International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. Thomas Jefferson on the opinion that that all human are created equal, and they have the right of Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. Whenever any Form of Government

becomes destructive of these rights, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it.The government must safeguard the right of Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness of its people. Universal Declaration of Human Rights Article 1 says, All Human beings are free and equal in dignity and rights. Similarly, Article 3 says, Everyone has the right of life, liberty and security of person. Democracy on the opinion of Abraham Lincoln, is a government of the people, by the people, for the people. But the reality in Nepal was just reverse. Although, the restoration of democracy in Nepal in 1990 opened a new avenue for the rights of children, the internal political conflicts pushed those rights into the shadow.The United Nations International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, Article 1states that all peoples have the right of self-determination. By

virtue of that right they freely determine their political status and freely pursue their economic, social and cultural development.Similarly, Article 3 states that all the people have equal right to the enjoyment of all civil and political rights.The Maoist insurgency, which started in 1996 to 2006 in Nepal, has caused widespread violence throughout the country and killed over 13,000 people including many innocent children. The conflict left at least 40,000 children displaced.As Mao Tse-tung said Political power comes from the barrel / nozzle of the guns, the ten years of armed conflict in Nepal has affected all aspects of livelihood and governance. No individual Nepalese is free from the effect. From very young children to the old age, rural people to the urban, government officials to the laymen all have suffered in one or the other way. Destruction of infrastructures, people being kidnapped from their home, killing of innocent people, people being homeless, people being internally displaced, children being orphan and homeless were the regular phenomena in that period. Article 13 of The Universal Declaration of Human Rights says Everyone has the right to freedom of residence within the border of each state but thousands of Nepalese people became refugees within their own motherland. Children are the foundation of the nation. The future of any nation depends on how the children are being nurtured at present. But the pathetic situation of children in Nepal who are still suffering from physical as well as psychological injuries, who have become handicapped, mentally retarded, in such a situation, what does a nation expect in the future? The United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights; Convention on the Rights of the Child. Article 37 states, (a) No child shall be subjected to torture or other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment. (b) No child shall be deprived of his or her liberty unlawfully or arbitrarily. (c) Every child deprived of liberty shall be treated with humanity and respect for the inherent dignity of the human person.

Numbers of problems are yet to address in Nepal especially for the victimized families. They have been deprived of their basic rights like right to food, right to shelter, right to education, right to health. So, social workers play a central role in advocating and promoting childrens and womens rights. We are to advocate for relief, rehabilitation and assistance to those who have been affected by violence and conflict and are displaced. We need to address necessary reforms to be made in the Labor Act so as to guarantee professional rights and protection of laborers as well as to enhance the productivity of industries and businesses. I have compared some of the main acts and Child Welfare policies of Japan and France with Nepal. Although, there are National legislation and policies against child labor in Nepal such as- The Children's Act, 1992, The Labor Act, 1992, Labor Rules, 1993 and The Child Labor (Prohibition and Regulation) Act, 1999, which are to protect the rights and interests of Nepalese children and to ensure their physical, mental, and intellectual development, these Acts have not yet been enacted. In Japan, there are various domestic laws to promote childrens well-being. Almost all children in Japan are covered by health care insurance. Families with small children which do not have a high income level can receive an allowance from the government. Local governments support pregnant womens and infants health and give advice to them. Schools also provide health examinations. Parents are obliged to have their children attend primary and secondary schools for nine years. The government provides financial support for low to moderate income families with infants. When a parent has a child who is younger than three years old, the parent can receive a child allowance from the government unless the parents income is more than the amount specified by the Child Allowance Law.The amount is 5,000 yen [US$43] to 10,000 yen [US$87] per child per month.The government supports mothers who do not have spouses and

their children. The government lends money to a woman who does not have a spouse and lives with a minor child or children when the mother starts up a business or keeps a business, or when the children needs money to attend schools.The government provides this mandatory education free of charge.The Japanese Constitution guarantees childrens rights to an education. The Constitution provides All people shall have the right to receive an equal education correspondent to their ability, as provided by law. All people shall be obligated to have all boys and girls under their protection receive ordinary education as provided for by law. Such compulsory education shall be free.The primary and secondary school enrollment ratio in Japan is almost 100 percent.School teachers are prohibited from inflicting corporal punishment.The right to an education is also guaranteed for children with disabilities. The Education Basic Law obliges the government to take measures in order to make sure that children with a disability can receive sufficient education, depending on their disability level.The local government is obliged to establish special schools for disabled children, including special schools for the blind, the deaf, the physically disabled, and the mentally retarded children.The local government provides financial support to parents if it is difficult for them to have their children attend schools due to financial hardship. Similarly, in France children under six receive free and mandatory preventive health services in a widespread network of thousands of health-care facilities. After the age of six, childrens health is monitored by school health services. Mandatory physical and psychological checkups take place when the children are ages six, nine, twelve, and fifteen. When they are of sufficient maturity, children must be informed of their medical treatment and participate in the decision- making process.School is mandatory from ages six to sixteen. Although not compulsory, pre-school for children under six is widely available and strongly encouraged.

Children with special educational needs are educated in mainstream classes alongside their peers wherever possible; to better incorporate them into society.The Public Health Code guarantees the health and social protection of pregnant women. Prenatal and post natal examinations are mandatory. There is a widespread network of thousands of health-care facilities, called Centres deProtection Maternelleet Infantile, to ensure that every mother and child receives basic preventive care. Pregnant women are entitled to maternity leave as follows: six weeks before and ten weeks after birth for the two first children; eight weeks before and eighteen weeks after birth for the third child; thirty-four weeks (twelve before birth) for twins; and forty-six weeks (twentyfour before birth) for triplets or more. Their right to return to the same position is guaranteed. To offset the loss of salary during their maternity leave, pregnant women receive benefits paid via maternity insurance known as indemnitsjournalires de repos (per diem rest

allowances). Women who breastfeed their children are entitled to take one hour every day (two thirty-minute breaks) at work. Employers who employ more than one hundred women must have at their disposal a breastfeeding bedroom. Comparing those Child Welfare policies of advanced countries, there are a lot of things to do for the rights of the children in the developing countries. We can see the pathetic situation of children in different countries who are the victims of political conflicts, for instance, the present situation in Iraq, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Israel and Middle East. Many civilians have been arrested, abducted and killed. Human rights - to life, freedom of assembly, stable residence, freedom from torture, peace and freedom of belief - have been seriously violated. Our role as a social worker is to know how the law works and be fully up to speed with the social welfare system. Childrens rights are included, under a broader umbrella of human rights. Social work can be considered as a human rights profession. As mentioned in (IFSW, 2002), Principles

ofhuman rights and social justice are fundamental to social work. Social workers take an active part in policy-making in child policy by promoting childrens rights in welfare and child policy programs.Our role is to urge governments and civil society organizations to develop activities in order to implement the human and childrens rights agenda. Ultimately, social work is the professional institution that attends to the implementation of child policy in practice in the welfare system. Social workers play a strategic role therein.

References Childrens Rights: France. Retrieved from: Childrens Rights: Japan. Retrieved from: International Federation ofSocialWorkers (2002).Social Work and theRightsofthe Child.A Professional Training Manual on the UN Convention. Bern. National Association of Social Workers (1999).Code of ethics.NASW Press, Washington, DC. Tiwari, C. K.(2001). Maoist Insurgency in Nepal: Internal Dimensions. Retrieved from: The Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Retrieved from The United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights; Convention on the Rights of the Child. Retrieved from: The United Nations International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. Retrieved from: