National Coalition for Children as Zones of Peace and Child Protection (CZOPP), since its' inception in 2001, is envisioned as the national campaign as well as the movement preliminarily focusing on the protection of rights of the children involved and affected from the impact of the armed conflict in Nepal. Children are one of the vulnerable groups in conflict and disastrous situations. They are often become victim of murder, rape, abduction, kidnapping and other cruel and inhuman degrading treatment and used in armed conflict and disaster related devastating activities in such situation.
Even in the advent of Republic Nepal and post conflict situation, children are still in vulnerable situations. Basically, the political interference and the absence of fulfillment of state obligations towards protection and promotion of child rights are in existence. Because of this fact, the concept of "children as zones of peace" and "school as zones of peace" always remains in shadow. It is therefore, the effort put by the national and international child rights organizations in CZOPP continued in post conflict period with broadening its scope. That is why; National Coalition for Children as Zones of Peace and Child Protection (CZOPP) is the symbol of continuous effort made by different national and international child rights organizations ranging from district, regional and central level for the protection and promotion of child rights.
CZOPP had its 6th AGM in February, 2012 along with broadening its scope and now it basically comprises the four basic thematic components namely: Policy Advocacy, CRC monitoring and reporting, Schools as Zones of Peace (SZOP) and Child Protection. During the existence of Constituent Assembly (CA), CZOPP had continuously put its efforts in protecting child rights issues. In addition to this, CZOPP has been continuously lobbying with Former Parliamentary Forum for Child Rights (F-PFCR) for child friendly new constitution in earlier CA and continuing the interaction and advocacy for children issues in the second CA election, Election Commission's code of conduct and Parties' manifestos also.
CZOPP has been submitted to recommendations letter to Election Commission to incorporate children issues in the Code of Conduct (CoC) including major political parties to put children and education issues in their manifestos. Due to such continuous effort, the 7 recommendations had been incorporated among the 11 recommendations by previous CA. Some of the major agenda and concerns related to rights of the children incorporated in Code of Conduct (CoC) of Election Commission. Likewise, positive thing is that compulsory basic education and free up to higher education along with child court and other child protection issues have been incorporated by major Political Parties' in their manifestos also. However, time is to see how they will be genuinely maintained and implemented sustainably. CZOPP further running its campaign in collaboration with Government of Nepal. Basically, in regard to School as Zones of Peace (SZOP) and child protection, CZOPP is coordinating and collaborating with National Human Right Commission (NHRC), Ministry of Education/ Department of Education ( MoE/DoE) along with Ministry of Women, Children and Social Welfare (MoWCWC) including Central Child Welfare Board (CCWB). In addition to scale up child protection campaign in South Asia, CZOPP has entered into NACG (National Action Coordinating Group)- Nepal for the purpose of SAIEVAC (South Asia Initiative to End Violence Against Children). CZOPP is chairing NACG- Nepal.
Along with these thematic components, the regional and district chapters of CZOPP is another backbone for us. It is our very remarkable achievement that the "CZOPP" as a national campaign is not only limited in the central capital rather it is wide spread in regional and district level. "Children as Zones of Peace" and "School as Zones of Peace" campaign is now also initiated from district and regional level.
We feel proud that we can make influence in policy making level along with all concerned stakeholders for the continue assurance of "children as zones of peace" and "school as zones of peace" and we heartily welcome all the stakeholders for the common effort in this campaign. In this very instance, we want to request and appeal all the stakeholders relating to child rights for maintaining 'Children as zones of peace' and 'Schools as zones of Peace' and also to promote and protect child rights. This is because the quality growth of child and inclusive education is crucial for these days for healthy learner with safe, protective and child friendly environment with relevant learning materials to impart knowledge, skills and positive attitudes towards advancement of life skills for students and the society through child centered, non disparity and gender sensitive teaching and learning outcomes process.
Current time is critical. Nepal is in democratic transition. 2nd Constitution Assembly (CA) Election will be held on 19th Nov, 2013 and I hope CZOPP will be able to take forward the issues concerning children protection through policy advocacy. The Government Authorities and CSOs - including families, schools and communities must fulfill their obligations to ensure that the rights, needs, interests and views of the children are respected. Let us continue to work to make a positive difference in the lives of the children. Let's accelerate the rights based campaigns to watch and control the gross violations of rights of the children, right to learn at schools, building school as zone of peace and children as zone of peace.
Last but not least, once again, I would like to appeal to all Political Parties, Government Authorities, and CSO Stakeholders including Medias to protect, respect, and fulfill the rights of the children and dignified lives of people. Hopefully, new CA could provide the inclusive and child friendly new constitution for the Federal Republic Nepal.
"Let's come in a single platform to unify the efforts for the protection and promotion of child rights and building to the child friendly new constitution."
Mr. Krishna Subedi