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Introduction to the Project on Bioethics for Informed Choices - page 109 / 115





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Bioethics Education639

Education of thousands of school going children is hampered. Hundreds of schools have been closed down and the frequent strikes have disturbed the pace of education greatly.  Though some human rights activists and journalists have claimed that the Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) is using child soldiers, the number has not been independently ascertained.  Sources: CWIN December 2003  Mêlée in Nepal

State Failed

Nepalis were optimistic out of the 1991 People's Movement that brought about the restoration of "Democracy." However, Nepalis were unable to properly invigorate their socio-economic and cultural rights in the 12-year democratic exercise under multi-party democracy and constitutional monarchy. The State failed to deal with people's legitimate demands for justice, development, prosperity and basically the real sharing of power by decentralization or state of autonomy which is tottally neglected by the present day constitution . Impartial development was marginalized and corruption, misuse of state authority, development malpractices became the bastion of Nepali politics. Frustration grew when "Democracy" failed to deliver.  In 1996, the Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) launched "People's War," an armed mêlée against the State to establish a "People's Government." Since then the Country has been obligated to watch and live through an escalating level of violence. In the seven years of mounting conflict, particularly rural Nepalis have subsisted through blood and gore, random killings, terror, threats and anxiety. The toll since 1996: over 8,000 lives lost; over 10,000 injured; over Rs. 10 Billion worth of property destroyed or damaged; tens of thousands of people displaced from their native villages, among them thousands of children.   With the suspension of local governments in 2002, the democratic edifices have stopped to function in the Country. The Government apparatus survives, but there is no process to listen to people's voices. Growth is at a standstill. Even though there has been a pronouncement of ceasefire, between the differing Parties, for the second time, constraint of passage in the conflict-affected areas continues. Security concerns and logistic limitations make distribution of basic services, essential commodities, development work or humanitarian aid extremely hopeless. In the conflict-affected regions, there has been stoppage of public services; schools are only just functional and agricultural production hindered, as people have not been able to grow food. However data and statistics do not portray the destitution caused to thousands of families whose occupations have been shattered or interrupted due to the battle, at the centre of which are the children.

Schools Are The Armed Camps

Children in the Heart of Battle. Adolescent boys and girls below the age of 18 have been directly or indirectly effected by the insurrection and brutality of war. Survey by human rights foundations confirm that 146 children have been killed during the conflict, hundreds more maimed. For every child killed, three more are either wounded or physically disabled, and many more become psychologically scarred.   It has been estimated that 2,000 children have lost at least one parent and over 4,000 have been displaced from their villages in the conflict-affected areas. Most of the displaced children have migrated either to India or to the larger cities like Kathmandu in search of security and a means of survival. Many of them have landed in the streets or have fallen victims to the worst forms of child labour, like working in brick kilns, stone quarries, carpet factories and working as domestic helps.   Those that have remained behind are faced with the risk of being recruited into the Maoist army. While the Maoists have been accused of using children as combatants, as members of "cultural troupes", and as  informants, there have been reports of both the warring sides using children as guides, couriers, porters. Hundreds of children have been arrested by the State for their alleged "involvement" in the Maoist movement, and illegally detained and placed in detention with adults.   Lack of access to essential services, a problem in a mountainous country like Nepal, has been aggravated by the war. Education has taken the impact of the conflict with children being deprived of their fundamental right to education. Village schools have been used as propaganda camps by both the armed groups, the Royal Nepal Army (RNA) as well as the Maoist. The RNA have taken over many schools and converted them into

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