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National Bal Kachahari 2019: Promoting Child Rights and Eliminating Child Marriage

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18th November 2019: A national-level program Bal Kachahari on “Promoting Child Rights and Eliminating Child Marriage” was conducted on 18th November 2019 at New Baneshwor, Kathmandu. This program was led by KIRDARC Nepal under AWASAR campaign with the support of Good Neighbor International Nepal and conducted in collaboration with different child rights networks who were solidarity partners of the program with constructive involvement of 10 networks including National Child Friendly Local Governance Forum (NCFLG Forum), National Child Participation Alliance (NCPA), National Coalition for Girls Rights (NCGR),Social Protection Civil Society Network (SPCSN), Consortium Nepal, and others who are actively working on promoting child rights and ending child marriage.

This program aimed to protect child rights and end child marriage from Nepal. It was helpful to empower the girl child and strengthen their capacity and leadership skills. In the program, participants representing government, civil society, child networks and clubs, and representatives of child rights activists, human rights, media, and political parties and children took part.

Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives of Nepal, Honorable Shiva Maya Tumbahamphe was the chief guest of the program. She asserted for carrying out a collective effort from the government, CSOs and child rights networks to end child marriage by focusing on adolescents from 15 to 20 years of age. Since different acts and aligned provisions have made child marriage as a crime, its effective execution has to be ensured to tackle this challenge. She committed to supporting drafting and executing further legal provisions and plans for child rights promotion and end child marriage.

Special guest Honorable Min Bahadur Shahi, Member, National Planning Commission shared that the government has enacted Children’s Act 2075 Nepal being aligned constitution, Criminal (Code) Act, 2074. Other acts, regulations are also in the process of drafting. 25th Periodic Plan has also incorporated the issue of child marriage and its elimination. Min Ho Choi, Country Representatives of Good Neighbor International Nepal also asserted children are the future of the nation. Hence, their rights have to be ensured by eliminating all forms of discrimination.

In the program, Garui Pradhan, Child Rights Activist shared that despite the decreasing rate of child marriage before 15 years of age, Nepal comes in the 17th position globally in terms of child marriage. He asserted for eliminating social-mal practices, increasing life skill knowledge, introducing income generation activities and increasing mass sensitization campaigns have to be carried out. Deputy Inspector General, Pitambar Ghimire shared his experience in law enforcement practice and asked for support in the campaign. In the program, other panelists Tilottam Paudel, JCYCN; Indu Panta Ghimire, Child Rights Activist; Durga Lal KC, Kantipur Daily; Hira Sing Thapa, Child Rights Activist; Yam Bahadur BK, Child Network Member also shared their experiences and presented asserted for collective efforts from all the stakeholders. Participants from child networks and clubs, child rights activists shared their experiences and asked queries to the panelists and concerned queries were addressed. On the behalf of KIRDARC Nepal, the program was chaired by Rana Lal Kulal, moderated by Govinda Bahadur Shahi and the key findings of an assessment on child marriage status and dynamics were shared by Gautam Raj Adhikari.

This program created a platform to interact with government authorities, civil society movements, media, private sector and political institutions on advocating effective implementation, and monitoring of the effective implementation of legislation and policy to ensure rights and end harmful practices against children.