The 10th World Day Against Child Labour was observed globally, including in Nepal, with various programmes in which activists and other concerned people raised serious concern over the plight of millions of children who are shedding their blood and tears for their mere survival. Although child labour is a global phenomenon, it is more acute in developing countries. As one of the least developed countries, Nepal, too, has the problem of child labour. There are over 2.4 million child workers in Nepal. These young labourers are working in different sectors, most of whom live in most hazardous conditions. Although there has been a slight reduction in the number of child workers compared to a decade ago, the progress has been very slow.
In principle, Nepal has expressed full commitment to protecting and promoting the rights of the child and eliminating child labour. As per its commitment to the right and interest of the child, Nepal has ratified the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) and several other UN and ILO conventions that prohibit child labour. As part of the action to translate its commitment made at the international level, Nepal has enacted several laws and announced policies and programmes aimed at the development of children and elimination of child labour. Education has been considered as the best way to eliminate child labour and protect the rights of the child. The government has adopted the policy of providing education to all children of school-going age. Also several other programmers have been launched for better health, growth and development of children including those who are at risk. In the campaign, different donor countries and agencies have also been providing active and meaningful support, which have been fruitful in ensuring better access to education and health care for children. However, the overall scenario concerning the rights of the child is still not satisfactory. The number of disadvantaged children continues to remain big. Child mortality and morbidity rates are high. Many children, especially in the rural and remote areas, are still out of school. The use of child labour is rampant, which is a clear violation of human rights and child rights.
The overall scenario is dismal which requires concerted efforts on the part of the government and a meaningful partnership with the civil society in order to reduce child labour and ensure the rights of the child. So far, there have been sectarian approaches from the government as well as the non-governmental sectors on the issue of child rights, child education, child health and child labour. If child labour is to be eliminated and child rights are to be guaranteed, a holistic approach and an effective partnership between the government and non-governmental sector are highly required, which alone would help realise the commitment of the government on the rights of the child and meet the millennium development goals.