Nepal

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Persistent violations
  • Trafficking of children[1]
  • Harmful traditional practices, particularly early marriage[2]
  • Inadequate education provision[3]
  • Inequality in access to education, particularly affecting girls[4]
  • Sexual exploitation of children, including prostitution[5]
  • Discrimination against children from Kamaiya backgrounds[6]
  • Discrimination on the basis of caste[7]
  • Inadequate provisions and protections for refugee children[8]
  • Children involved in armed conflict, including as child soldiers[9]
  • Enforced disappearances[10]
  • Violence against children, particularly girls[11]
  • Discrimination in the provision of citizenship rights[12]
  • Child labour, including in hazardous conditions[13]
  • Inadequate sexual and reproductive health care and education[14]
  • Inadequate and inappropriate juvenile justice system[15]
  • Use of, and conditions in, detention for children[16]

For more details, go here

Footnotes
  1. UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, UN Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, UN Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women, UN Committee against Torture, UN Special Rapporteur on indigenous peoples, International Labour Organisation, Universal Periodic Review
  2. UN Committee on the Rights of the Child< UN Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, UN Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women, Universal Periodic Review
  3. UN Committee on the Rights of the Child< UN Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, UN Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women, UN Special Rapporteur on indigenous peoples, UN Representative of the Secretary-General on internally displaced persons, Universal Periodic Review
  4. UN Committee on the Rights of the Child< UN Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women, Universal Periodic Review
  5. UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, UN Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women, Universal Periodic Review
  6. UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, UN Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, UN Special Rapporteur on indigenous peoples, International Labour Organisation, Universal Periodic Review
  7. UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, UN Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, Universal Periodic Review
  8. UN Committee on the Rights of the Child< UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, UN Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women, Universal Periodic Review
  9. UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, UN Committee against Torture, UN Special Rapporteur on Torture, UN Representative of the Secretary-General on internally displaced persons, UN Working Group on enforced or involuntary disappearances, UN Special rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions, Special Representative of the Secretary_General on children and armed conflict, International Labour Organisation, Universal Periodic Review
  10. UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, UN Working Group on enforced or involuntary disappearances, UN Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions, Special Representative of the Secretary-General on children and armed conflict
  11. UN Committee on the Rights of the Child< UN Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women, UN Committee against Torture, UN Special Rapporteur on indigenous peoples, Universal Periodic Review
  12. UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, UN Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women
  13. UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, UN Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, UN Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women, UN Special Rapporteur on indigenous peoples, UN Representative of the Secretary-General on internally displaced persons, International Labour Organisation, Universal Periodic Review
  14. UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, UN Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women
  15. UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, UN Committee against Torture, Universal Periodic Review
  16. UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, UN Committee against Torture, UN Special Rapporteur on Torture



Introduction

A landlocked country bordering China and India, Nepal is famous for its mountainous regions, including Everest, the world's highest peak. The year 2006 saw the end of both the bloody civil war that had gripped Nepal for a decade and of the once all-powerful monarchy, replaced by a parliamentary republic that has since been in political deadlock. Pressing human rights concerns in Nepal include high levels of human trafficking, particularly of children, the persistence of discrimination and forced labour based on caste or ethnic background and the failure to address the abuses committed by all sides during the civil war.


Geography

Nepal is a landlocked country on the borders of India and China, including the Tibet Autonomous Region. The country's terrain is home to the widest altitudinal disparity in the world, from the lowlands of the Terai to the peak of Everest in the Himalayan region. The capital city is Kathmandu.

Population and language

Nepal's population exceeded 30 million for the first time in 2011, and continues to grow at relatively high annual rate of between 1.7 and 2 per cent.[1] This population is made of a range of indigenous groups, including Gurung, Limbu, Newar, Rai, Sherpa, Tamang and Tharu peoples, as well as a number of smaller groups. Nepali is the most widely spoken language but, reflecting the diversity of the population, a range of languages are spoken in the country, including Newari, Tibeto-Burman languages and Indian-related languages.

History and politics

The territory now known as Nepal emerged out of the city states of the Kathmandu Valley, which were unified in the mid-18th century. For the vast majority of its history, the country has been ruled by monarchs or a ruling family, and its transition to republicanism has been tempestuous and frequently violent. In 1990, an almost bloodless coup instituted a constitutional monarchy and a parliamentary system of government, but governments were unstable and frequently changed: between 1994 and 1999 there were five coalition governments. In 1996, the Maoist United People's Front began a violent insurgency waged through torture, bombings, kidnappings, extortion and intimidation which, combined with the State's response, led to the deaths of an estimated 16,000 civilians, insurgents, police and soldiers. Throughout the period, around 1,300 people 'disappeared' or 'missing'.[2]

After ten years of political instability, and several unsuccessful ceasefire agreements, elections were held for a newly formed Constituent Assembly, which promptly declared the formation of a new republic, ending 250 years of monarchical rule. Since the formation of the new political institutions, the Unified Communist Party of Nepal- Maoist and the Communist Party of Nepal- Unified Marxist Leninist have played a greater role in government, though the arrangement has failed to create stability. The current Assembly has been extended four times since 2008, as the parties have been unable to agree on a new Constitutional arrangement. The Supreme Court has rejected the possibility of a further extension, and their will have to be elections for a new Constituent Assembly in November 2012.[3]

Economy

Nepal is one of the poorest countries in Asia, and among the poorest in the world. An estimated 78 per cent of the population live on less than US$1.25 and the UNDP has rated the country 157th in the world in terms of human development.[4] Agriculture and remittances remain vital to the economy, providing up to one-third each of the GDP. Tourism has also become an important source of income, particularly since the industry opened up to foreign investment in 2006, and the country now attracts more than 600,000 tourists annually.[5] The global financial crisis had a delayed, but serious impact on the national economy, negatively affecting remittance income and exports. The country also suffers serious electricity shortages, though its terrain is ideal for the generation of hydro-electric power.[6]

Media and civil society

Journalists continue to face pressure in the aftermath of the armed conflict, and violence and threats remain a persistent problem. In 2010 three journalists were killed within months of each other, and the Journalists' Federation in Nepal reported that at least one of these deaths was as a direct result of the victim's work. A further 20 journalists were victims of assaults.[7] Authorities took steps to prosecute such offences in 2011, leading to the conviction of four people for murders of journalists, but violence has continued throughout 2012 in the wake of political instability.[8] Civil society and human rights workers have also experienced pressure, including death threats made against several people for criticism of Pushpa Kamal Dahal, the head of the Unified Communist Party.[9]

Reporters Without Borders rated the country 106th in its Press Freedom Index of 2011/12, indicating a “difficult situation” for media operating the in the country.[10]

Human rights and children’s rights

In the aftermath of the armed conflict and the human rights violations that took place throughout, human rights organisations have been critical of the failure to address the crimes of the past. The transitional constitution of 2007 required the State to establish a Truth and Reconciliation Commission to investigate allegations of human rights violations related to the period, but the Commission is yet to be formed. Similarly, the United Communist Party has been criticised for withdrawing criminal cases lodged against party members as part of an agreement to establish political consensus.[11]

Torture and other ill-treatment also remain widespread within the criminal justice system. The Nepal based Centre for Victims of Torture conducted a study between 2008 and 2010 in which 74 per cent of those interviewed reported torture whilst in police custody, including a small number of children.[12] In recent years, there have also been reports of children working in harmful conditions, particularly in the brick manufacturing industry.[13]

  1. UNDESA, "Population Statistics 2011"
  2. International Committee of teh Red Cross, "Missing persons in Nepal" 2011 and Nepal Monitor, "Recording Nepal conflict: Victims in numbers" 23 July 2011
  3. BBC, "Nepal calls election as constitution deadline passes" 28 May 2012
  4. UNDP, "Nepal Country Profile: Human Development Indicators"
  5. Government of Nepal Ministry of Tourism and Civil Aviation, "Nepal Tourism Statistics 2010"
  6. The Independent Power Producers' Association, Nepal, "Hydropower in Nepal"
  7. Reporters Without Borders, "World Report 2012: Nepal"
  8. Reporters Without Borders, "Threats and physical attacks on journalists and media continue" 25 May 2012
  9. Reporters Without Borders, "Reporter killed amid continuing attacks on journalists" 4 April 2012
  10. Reporters Without Borders, "Press Freedom Index 2012"
  11. Amnesty International, "World report 2012: The state of the world's rights (Nepal country data)"
  12. Centre for Victims of Torture, "Nepal: Fact sheet on torture in Nepal" 26 June 2011
  13. Terre des hommes- child relief, "Nepal: Children labouring in brickyards- irreparable damage" 10 February 2012

Sources:

Quick Facts

  • Population: 31.011.140 (UNDESA, 2011)
  • Population under 18: 11,601,300 (UNICEF, 2010)
  • Number of internet users: 2,031,245 users, 6.9 per cent of the population (InternetWorldStats, 2011)
  • Human Development Index ranking: 157 (UNDP, 2011)
  • Happy Planet ranking: 58 (New Economics Foundation, 2012)