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UNICEF Concerned that Children a Casualty of Recent Demonstrations

KATHMANDU, April 13 – UNICEF has expressed its deep concern at reports that children have been injured, arrested and detained in the recent demonstrations in Kathmandu and other cities.

“Children have no place being near demonstrations that could turn violent,” UNICEF Representative Dr. Suomi Sakai said today.

“It is of great concern that children, some under the age of 10, have been seen taking part in demonstrations and have been injured and arrested.

“While children do have the right to freedom of expression under the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC), their parents and guardians also have the right and responsibility to ensure that children are exercising their rights in an age-appropriate manner.

“Organizers of any demonstration or public gathering have a responsibility to ensure that children are out of harm’s way, particularly children without family, such as street children who have no-one to look after them and are even more vulnerable.

“In particular, organizers need to ensure that demonstrators are not asking children to help find tyres, stones, and pieces of wood or other potential missiles.

“UNICEF also has received some very disturbing reports from the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights in Nepal (OHCHR-Nepal) that children in demonstrations have been arrested, beaten following arrest and have been detained, sometimes with adults.

“Specifically, UNICEF has been informed of five children aged between 12 and 16 years who were arrested in locations in the Kathmandu Valley on 10 April, and two 14-year old boys arrested in districts outside the Kathmandu Valley in recent days.

“UNICEF is deeply concerned about the well being of these children.

“As OHCHR-Nepal has stated, international standards require that law enforcement officials shall exercise restraint and use only the minimal necessary force in policing demonstrations, that they shall respect and preserve human life, and minimise damage and injury.

“In the case of children, Article 37 of the CRC, to which Nepal is a Signatory, clearly states that the arrest, detention or imprisonment of a child shall be used only as a last resort and for the shortest appropriate period of time.

“Children in detention shall be treated with humanity, be separated from adults, have the right to maintain contact with their family, and the right to have access to prompt legal and other appropriate assistance.

“UNICEF reiterates the call of the UN System last year for His Majesty’s Government of Nepal to ensure that the security forces and offices with responsibility for custody verify that any child in custody is being held in accordance with the above undertakings in Article 37.”

For 60 years UNICEF has been the world’s leader for children, working on the ground in 155 countries and territories to help children survive and thrive, from early childhood through adolescence.  The world’s largest provider of vaccines for developing countries, UNICEF supports child health and nutrition, good water and sanitation, quality basic education for all boys and girls, and the protection of children from violence, exploitation, and AIDS.  UNICEF is funded entirely by the voluntary contributions of individuals, businesses, foundations and governments.

For further information, please contact:
Rabindra Giri, Tel. + 977 552 3200 ext. 1177, Email rgiri@unicef.org




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