Thursday, 11 September 2008 05:45

"I will take all necessary action to amend existing laws to protect children from the alarming problem of online sexual abuse of children. I will also take due action to stop using cubicles, (which is being used to maintain privacy) in the cyber cafes with immediate effect." Said newly appointed Hon'ble Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Home Affairs Bam Dev Gautam with huge applaud. He also expressed the need to continuously amend laws to include new issues and will ensure a cyber law and functioning cyber police.

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Home Affairs made his remarks at a Consultation on Protecting Children Online in Nepal on 11th September 2008 in Kathmandu organized by Child Workers in Nepal Concerned Centre (CWIN), who launched the campaign "Stay Safe Online" with the support of Save the Children Sweden. Nearly 50 participants including government officials, representatives from INGOs and NGOs, representatives from Internet Service Providers and Cyber Cafes and media were present at the opening session of the workshop. 

Turid Heiberg, Regional Programme Manager, Save the Children Sweden remarked that combating online child sexual abuse is the responsibility of the whole society, no matter whether they are Internet Service Providers, IT professionals, Cyber café owners, Government officials, NGOs or INGOs. She argued that we, as adults need to support children to develop their resilience. She also emphasized the need for strengthening the national and community-based child protection system in the country.

Cecile Lampe, Campaign Adviser for CWIN Campaign - Protecting Children Online presented the main ideas of the campaign. She also highlighted the findings of the research on the topic conduced by CWIN with the support of Save the Children Sweden, where children state a high degree of vulnerability. 

Sumnima Tuladhar, the Executive Coordinator of CWIN, highlighted the escalating problem of online child sexual abuse, cyberbullying and need for online child protection. She also expressed gratitude to all the partners (Save the Children Norway, Save the Children Sweden, Plan International and UNICEF) for joining hands with CWIN's campaign on "Protecting Children online in Nepal". 

Dr Madan Pariyar, Member-Secretary of High-Level Committee on IT indicated growing use of internet in Nepal and its harmful effects on children which is very much disheartening. But at the same time, he assured to help in whatever way to control the cyber crimes by formulating laws, rules and regulations. 

Gillian Mellosop, Country Representative, UNICEF Nepal, emphasized the need for coordinated action to protect children online by developing a legal framework and raising public awareness. Lastly, but not least, she emphasized that effective monitoring is pivotal.