Around the World:
Children’s Lack of Access to Fundamental Rights in Nepal and the
Effects the Nepalese Legal System Has on Poverty, Health, Education,
Child Labor, Child Trafficking, and Child Marriage
By: Lily Ealey
Nepal is one of the least developed and most impoverished countries in the world.
Nepal lies along the southern slopes of the Himalayan Mountains and is landlocked by
India and the Tibetan region of China. Their legal system is not any better. Children,
especially in Nepal, have little access to their rights, live in extreme poverty, and deal with
many issues, including, malnutrition, violence, and other harmful circumstances. The
country of Nepal is made up of over 90 Sino-Tibetan languages. Many communities cannot
make themselves publicly understood, which leads to unintended discrimination of
children who are unable to understand Nepali or English. More than 30% of children in
Nepal are not registered with the Nepalese authorities, leading to numerous issues, and
making children invisible in the eyes of society. Thus, children cannot take advantage of
the very few rights they have, most importantly, health care and education.
Government policies need to become more pro-business and pro-citizen by creating
employment opportunities, encouraging new industries, eliminating curbs on foreign
investment, lowering taxes on income, imports and production, and promoting free trade.
Most importantly, the government needs to invest in the country’s children. Through
examinations of poverty, health, education, child labor, sex trafficking, and child marriage,
this article will explore how Nepalese law affects the outcomes of children in Nepal.
Over half the Nepalese population lives below the poverty line and cannot meet
their families’ needs. Children in particular struggle, as their rights to health care, freedom,
and education are rarely fulfilled when they live below the poverty line. Nearly 25% of the
population lives on less than one U.S. dollar per day. Nepal ranks 145th out of 187 countries
in terms of human development, and the reduction of poverty is moving extraordinarily
slowly. Despite extreme poverty, Nepal’s social policy investments and civil society
engagement has not waivered. Poverty has become an identifying part of Nepal, but their
societal resilience throughout this extreme stands strong. The high rate of population
growth and the low economic progress are two of the major reasons for poverty in Nepal.
If this pattern of growth continues, Nepal’s population will be doubled within almost 33
years, reaching fifty million. Economic growth is extraordinarily low at an average of a 4%
gross domestic product (GDP) growth rate.