Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Children's health and human rights are at risk in Nepal

"Time is running out for the children of Nepal," say Sonal Singh (Johns Hopkins University) and colleagues in an Essay in PLoS Medicine. Nepalese children, they say, "face an uncertain future if their health and human rights concerns are not addressed by local governments, nongovernmental organizations, and the international community in a timely manner."

One out of every 11 children in Nepal dies before reaching the age of five, and almost 70,000 children die yearly from preventable causes. The ongoing violent conflict in Nepal between Maoist rebels and government forces has disrupted the delivery of health care to children and deprived them of education. And since the end of the cease fire in 2003, say Singh and colleagues, there has been a steady increase in human rights violations against Nepalese children by both parties to the conflict.

The international community, they say, needs to raise its voice against the atrocities levied against children by both conflicting parties. "It needs to provide enough resources to meet the basic needs of the children and support developmental programs, but ensure that foreign support does not fund military exercises or increase child health violations, in order to prevent the children of Nepal from becoming another 'lost generation.'"

Source: Public Library of Science

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