The state of the rights of the child in Nepal continues to be a subject of grave concern for human rights and child rights activists. The United Nations has called upon all member countries to eliminate child labour and ensure the rights of the child. As a commitment to child rights and their protection against exploitation and discrimination, the United Nations has adopted the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC), to which Nepal is a signatory. This convention has prohibited the employment of children in any sector. Similarly, ILO has also adopted conventions for the rights of the child and launched programmes for the elimination child labour in several countries in the world. Nepal is one of those countries where ILO launched its programme towards this end.
Nepal has also announced various legal and policy measures as well as programmes for the rights of the child. Apart from this, many organisations are working in this field and advocating for the rights of the child and demanding an end to child labour, in general, and worst forms of labour, in particular. Despite all these efforts and attempts for more than two decades, the worst forms of child labour continue to exist in Nepal. Street children are said to be the ones engaging in the worst forms of child labour.
According to a recently released study, the problems and plight of street children and their number in Nepal remain unchanged. The survey conducted by the National Alliance of Organisations Working for Street Children-Nepal (NAOSC-Nepal) has claimed that there are an estimated 5,000 street children in Nepal. The first survey of this nature was conducted in 1990, which had projected a similar number of street children in Nepal. Apart from the number, the condition of the street children, too, does not seem to have improved. Many street children sleep, work and eat in the streets. They are leading a hazardous life and must undergo different kinds of violence and abuse. This shows that the condition of street children has not improved despite the various programmes launched by the government and non-governmental organisations in this sector.
This shows that the funds and programmes meant for the underprivileged children have not yielded the desired results. This is not only a question of Nepalís street children but also the overall condition of underprivileged children in Nepal. This situation now demands effective monitoring of the activities and programmes launched by different governmental and non-governmental organisations so that the programmes can achieve the desired results and improve the condition of the targeted groups. Child rights and child labour are a national issue, and better coordination among the government and non-governmental organisations is, therefore, required to achieve better results.