In the context of an important historic Constituent Assembly Election, the political activities are increasing. Most of the parties of the society are showing their concerns upon the political activities and the phase of New Nepal is very near. However, deplorable and violent incidents like fighting among cadres of political parties during the election campaign and the recent bomb blasts pose a challenge to holding the election.

The Election Code of Conduct 2064 has been issued with consent from all political parties to make the election well organised and acceptable. Article 23 of the Election Code of Conduct clearly states that: "No children should be made to participate in procession, rally or mass meetings and/or be involved in campaigning or any kind of election-related activities". Nevertheless, major political parties are violating this code of conduct. In this context, the issue of child protection has become very important. All the concerned stakeholders in society should be alert and active in protecting children. The role of media, which is observing the election activities closely, will be essential in this. Accordingly, it is necessary to publicise the incidents of Code of Conduct violations and put continuous pressure on political parties for correction.

We request all to protect children from negative effects caused by the election activities. It is also necessary to build a new culture in favour of Child Rights in the process of building New Nepal. We appeal all to fulfil their duty to protect children, adopting the following measures:

Children: 

Children should be aware of Constituent Assembly Election and issues of children to be addressed by the Constituent Assembly. The views of children should be respected in the process of building New Nepal. However, children should be aware that people with vested interests can misuse them and put them in risk.

Parents:

Parents should protect their children making them aware of possible harm and misuse of their children for any election activities. Parents should be alert of any violent incidents that may take place in order to protect their children.

Political parties:

Children must not be used in any activities related to the election campaign by political parties. They have the responsibility to follow the Election Code of Conduct and translate their commitments with regards to the protection of children's rights into action.

Election Commission:

Special attention, monitoring and reasonable action should be taken to pursue Article 23 of Election code of conduct. The issue of children should be given priority during the election awareness campaign.

Election Observers:

Election observers should observe the use of children by the vested interest groups to fulfil their political goals, and monitor the activities that affect children directly before and also after election.

Media:

Media should be more alert, collect facts and publicise the incidents of use of children in the election and child rights violations, and put pressure to concerned parties to respect child rights

Government and Security force:

They should take immediate action mobilising local structures regarding any incidents of Child Right violations which may take place during the election. Moreover, they should give priority to the protection of children from any incident.

Let's make the Constituent Assembly election success in a free and fair manner!

Let's build New Nepal with respect to Child Rights!!

 

Tarak Dhital

Spokesperson, CWIN-Nepal

 

April 2, 2008