On May 8 government authorities forcefully evacuated squatters who had illegally settled on the banks of the Bagmati River in Thapathali. While bulldozing the settlement, children, pregnant women, sick persons and senior citizens were stranded as there were no other alternatives for their settlement and protection. Meanwhile, use of school students in school dress by the squatters to protest against the government initiative is also the violation of child rights. This action has drawn the stern attention of Child Workers’ Concern Centre (CWIN-Nepal). 

It is obvious that the state should implement its policy and laws. However, the manner of implementation cannot compromise the protection of the child and other vulnerable citizens. The state must take the issue of child protection, pregnant women and senior citizens into consideration and, as such, make prior arrangements for alternative resettlement. This must be coordinated and systematic.  Such insensitivity and lack of empathy displayed by the state towards its own constituents will only perpetuate sentiments of marginalization and discontent. 

We appeal the government to give special attention to the care and protection of children, pregnant women and senior citizens while conducting any activities in upcoming days. Likewise, we also appeal to other stakeholders not to use children in protests or engage them in any confrontational situations. At the same time, after shifting the squatters, we request the government and other stakeholders to ensure the right to shelter of the children who were residing in the area and swiftly facilitate an environment conducive to the continuation of their education.

Tarak Dhital

Spokesperson and General Secretary

CWIN-Nepal 

May 9, 2012