Tuesday Oct 4, 2022
Tuesday Oct 4, 2022

Child labor in Nepal

2022 Aug 11, 8:30, Kathmandu
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The rights of children are ensured in Nepal by the present constitution. However, millions of children in Nepal live under exploitative and harsh conditions due to poverty. Natural disasters and economic recessions make matters even worse for Nepali children.

A leading human rights organization, Human Rights Watch has shown concerns about the well-being of children in Nepal. According to Human Rights Watch, the economic impact of COVID - 19 has led many children in Nepal to take on dangerous and exploitative jobs. Children from economically deprived families in Nepal are left with no choice but to take on hazardous jobs to support themselves and ones younger than them.

Several studies have indicated that child labor significantly increases when the regions where children live are affected by natural disasters, conflict, and health emergencies. Evidence of this has already been observed in the past in the post-disaster period of 2015 after a 7.8 magnitude earthquake hit Nepal seven years ago. The earthquake displaced millions from their homes and pushed many children to hazardous labor.

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“As a result of new, stricter laws and policies formulated to protect the rights of children in Nepal, child labor witnessed a decline in Nepal. However, after the pandemic arrived, child labor, child trafficking, and child marriages have increased due to pandemic-induced poverty,” says a senior officer of Societas Socialis (SOS) Nepal Rama Karki. According to the national data of SOS Nepal, there are currently 23,132 children without parental care in Nepal, while 37.4% of children between the age of 5 and 17 and subjected to child labor in Nepal. Societas Socialis (SOS) Children's Villages advocates for children’s rights in Nepal. Children who are orphaned, abandoned, and children who are victims of child abuse and child labor benefit from the programs of SOS.

Societas Socialis (S0S) children’s village Nepal, now has over 16203 beneficiaries in Nepal with safe homes built for vulnerable children in the districts of Bharatpur, Gandaki, Dhangadhi, Itahari, Jorpati, Kavre, Lumbini, Pokhara, Sanothimi and Surkhet. “We receive letters from people, concerning the rescue and nurture of vulnerable children. We then verify the claims and if found true bring the children to the nearest children's villages SOS has established. Many times the children we receive are victims of child abuse and child labor,” says a senior officer of SOS Nepal Rama Karki.

Based on the national data of Nepal’s Central Bureau of Statistics for 2021, among the 7 million children between the age of 5 and 17 in Nepal, 1.1 million (15.3%) children are subjected to child labor.

The international labor organization categorizes child labor as work that deprives children of their childhood, their right to education, health, safety, and mental development. The national report published by ILO in collaboration with the Government of Nepal in 2021, shows that younger children are more subjected to child labor than older ones. Nearly 18 % of children between the ages of 5 and 13 in Nepal are subjected to child labor whereas the rate is 10% for older children between the ages of 14 and 17. The research also showed that female children are more likely to be engaged in child labor than male children in Nepal. Similarly, different regions in the country have varying child labor rates. Child labor is highest in the Karnali region (24.6%) followed by Sudurpashchim (20.9%), while it is the lowest in Bagmati (8.9%).

However, there is progress seen in the situation of children according to the International labor organization in Nepal. Their report suggests that child labor is declining almost at the rate of 100,000 every year in Nepal.

Nepal has been selected for the ILO Flagship Programme on the International Programme on the Elimination of Child Labour and Forced Labour (IPEC+). This flagship will implement programs in Nepal to eliminate child labor and protect the constitution-given rights of Nepali children. Similarly, the Government of Nepal approved the National Master Plan (NMP) - II on Child Labor in the year 2018, which will run until the year 2028 and will involve the formulation of evidence-based child labor policies in Nepal. National and international programs add up to several policies the government has ratified to ensure the rights of children in Nepal. However, natural disasters and economic recessions continue to force children to adopt hazardous jobs to make ends meet.


rights of children constitution natural disasters Human Rights Human Rights Watch covid-19 child labor child trafficking child marriages education
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