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Children advocate with the Minister of Children, Women and Senior Citizens in Nepal

January 17th, 2024

As part of our work on online safety for children in Nepal under the SCROL programme, our children and youth advocates raised concerns with Honorable Minister Surendra Raj Acharya who leads the Ministry of Children, Women and Senior Citizens in the country.

child advocacy in Nepal
child advocacy in Nepal

Preparing the memoradum

As part of our SCROL programme in Nepal, we organised consultation sessions with children and youth to prepare a memorandum to document the required systemic changes in Nepal to address Online Child Sexual Exploitation (OCSE). The following were the major concerns and needed interventions highlighted by children:

  • The chapters on OCSE should be included in the school curriculum from the primary level. The local government should organise awareness programmes on OCSE for parents, teachers and School Management Committees. 
  • The Cyber Bureau is the only agency that deals with OCSE-related cases. Before, it was providing service only in Kathmandu. Currently, it has expanded its services through police offices in all districts. However, the capacity of the human resources also needs to be enhanced. Similarly, a special unit should be arranged for child protection in the Cyber Bureau. 
  • Public awareness campaigns on OCSE should be conducted at the community level in coordination with youth clubs, child clubs, local government and community police. 
  • For the protection of children on the Internet, there needs to be coordination and cooperation between all relevant stakeholders such as the local government, Nepal Police, Nepal Telecommunication Authority, private Internet Service Providers (ISPs), expert civil society, judicial bodies and networks of children and adolescents.
  • The OCSE issues should be considered in the government initiatives to create smart and digital cities. 
  • It should be determined that it is the responsibility of internet service providers to protect children and adolescents from potential OCSE risks by providing necessary information and technologies to children/adolescents and parents. 
  • A system should be developed to connect security measures to the computers used by the children in the family and update periodically. 
  • The government should make the concerned authorities aware of their duty to take necessary action to rehabilitate the OCSE survivors.
  • The Ministry of Education, Science and Technology should develop a system to restrict access of children to adult content in the schools. 
  • As per the cases registered in the Child Helpline 1098, child and adolescent survivors of OCSE go through high levels of stress. Because of this, they pay less attention to their studies. Some of them drop out of school and some go through depression and develop suicidal tendencies. Meanwhile, some get revictimized (rape, sextortion, etc.)

Advocacy with the Minister

On December 27, 2023, a national-level event was organised, during which children and youth submitted their concerns regarding Online Child Sexual Exploitation (OCSE) through the above memorandum to the Honorable Minister Surendra Raj Acharya, Ministry of Women, Children, and Senior Citizen for inclusion in the 16th National Plan of Action.

As there is no specific policy addressing OCSE-related concerns in Nepal, the platform also re-emphasized the need for a Standard Operating Procedure (SoP) to effectively handle cases of online sexual exploitation of children. This SoP was developed under the SCROL project to address OCSE cases and has been handed over to the Ministry of Women, Children, and Senior Citizens which is in the process of endorsement.

Key stakeholders, including the Ministry of Communication and Information Technology, the National Human Rights Commission, Nepal Police Cyber Bureau, Civil Society Organizations and most importantly children and youth were present at the event.

Through our efforts, we look forward to seeing the required systemic changes to ensure that the issue of OCSE is addressed in Nepal.

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