The Advocates for Human Rights has chosen to address the issue of child labor in Nepal for a variety of reasons, however, child labor is a widespread problem that is not limited to Nepal alone.
CHILD LABOR: AN INTERNATIONAL PROBLEM
The International Labor Organization (ILO) estimates that close to 250 million children worldwide are victims of forced child labor. These children, some as young as four years old, are subjected to long days of harsh, unhealthy, and hazardous working conditions that are clearly harmful to their growth and development. Frequently they must work to support their families and to pay their parents' debts in bonded or slave labor situations. In exchange they are paid little and exposed to physical, emotional, and sometimes even sexual abuse. These children sacrifice their health, well being and childhood. Education is rarely part of their lives. Indeed, child labor is closely linked to low education levels for women and girls. Even though the availability of good schools, books, and food would help improve the situation for many children, the global community is doing too little to eliminate this problem.
FORCED AND EXPLOITATIVE LABOR IS VIOLATION OF BASIC HUMAN RIGHTS.
International law provides a clear and accepted consensus on the nature and definition of child labor. The International Labor Organization has adopted many international conventions on child labor. The rights of children to education and freedom from exploitation are also clearly stated in the Convention on the Rights of Children (the Children's Convention) adopted by the United Nations General Assembly on November 20, 1989. The Children's Convention is the most widely ratified international instrument. Only the United States and Somalia have yet to ratify it.
WHY DOES THE ADVOCATES WORK IN NEPAL?
As of 1995, the average life expectancy in Nepal was 55 years, adult literacy was 41 percent for males and 14 percent for females, and only 52 percent of children completed a primary school education. These statistics are some of the worst in the world. Dozens of brickyards surround Kathmandu, where children make and carry
In response to the overwhelming number of Nepalese children who cannot sustain their basic needs and have no alternative to becoming child laborers, a volunteer committee of The Advocates for Human Rights established and opened the Sankhu-Palubari Community School in the Kathmandu valley of Nepal on September 9, 1999, for children under 16. The school is completely free and includes a daily meal. A Nepalese non-profit organization committed to ending child labor, Hoste Hainse, works with The Advocates to administer and monitor the Project.
Child Labor Photo Gallery.
This site features more photos from doctor, photographer, and The Advocates volunteer David Parker. Dr. Parker has created a web gallery in conjuction with the Harvard Occupation Health Program in order to showcase his photos of child laborers.