Consultation Meeting on the Issue of Misuse of Children in Election Campaign and Child Rights Issues to be Included by the Political Parties in Their Agendas
Children and Women in Social Service and Human Rights (CWISH) in coordination with "Child protection Advocacy Campaign for Local Level Election” and tdh Germany has jointly organized the consultation program with stakeholder on the misuse of children during elections campaign and the issues to be addressed by the political parties for the protection and promotion of the child rights on 29th March 2017 at Alfa House, Kathmandu. The UN convention of the rights of the Child, which has been ratified by Nepal, provides under Article 36 that, “Children should be protected from any activities that could harm their development. Children should not be used in election campaign in any form whatsoever, either for distribution of poster/pamphlets or to participate in slogan shouting, campaign rallies, election meetings etc.” The objective of the consultation workshop follows as below;
- To advocate with political parties through the brief summary presentation of the misuse of the children in the previous election campaign and possible issues to be included in the political parties' manifesto for children's rights protection and promotion so that the political parties will commit to reduce the uses and ensure the issues in their manifesto.
- Sensitize civil society organizations working for the children's rights to conduct the necessary monitoring and advocacy on it.
- Enhance coordination and collaboration with stakeholders working in child rights sector.
The workshop was organized in Alfa House Kathmandu with the presence of major political parties (Communist Party of Nepal, Unified Marxist and Leninist, Communist Party of Nepal Maoist Center and Rastriya Prajantra Party) and civil society organization representatives. A presentation was made from National Human Rights Commission (Mr. Shyam Babu Kafle) which shows that the children were used in the previous elections by the political parties. During the presentation he suggested that the parties should identify the ways to reduce the uses of school premises for their election campaigns, aware to reduce the children's use in election campaign in mass rally, orient their party mechanism to reduce the possible consequences for children's use. After the presentation the representatives (central committee members) from the parties committed that they will advocate in their central committee to include the child rights agendas in their election manifesto and orient their party mechanism to not use children during the upcoming election campaign. Similarly the representatives from the civil society organizations have also shared that they will advocate in local level for this agenda and conduct the monitoring of the election campaigns and provide feedbacks to the political parties.
The formal program was chaired by CWISH chair Ms. Bimala Jnawali where Ingrid Mendonca, regional coordinator of tdh Germany, shared the objective of the consultation. The key message of the program is that the political parties' election campaign should be child sensitive and without the misuse of children whereas the political agendas of the parties should be child rights responsive.