40,000 Nepalese children displaced in armed conflict

KATHMANDU, Jun 12, 2005 (Xinhua via COMTEX) -- At least 40,000 children in Nepal have been displaced due to the nine-year-old armed conflict between the government troops and anti-government guerrillas, said a latest study on child labor released here Sunday.

As International Day Against Child Labor is being observed worldwide on Sunday, a study conducted jointly by the International Labor Organization (ILO) and Child Workers in Nepal Concern Center in April this year said that at least 40,000 children in Nepal have been displaced due to the armed conflict and the problem of child labor has become worse in the country due to the armed conflict.

Frequent school closures resulted from the guerrillas' call for general and educational strikes, forced indoctrination and clashes between the two sides, have compelled many children to leave their villages and seek refuge in urban areas.

More than 12,000 Nepalese people have been killed since the insurgency erupted in 1996, among them nearly 400 were children.

The ILO said more than 10,000 children work in stone quarries, coal mines, sand mines and red soil mines in Nepal and a majority of them are between 11 to 13 years of age. These children work under the worst conditions imaginable, and face serious risk of injury, chronic illness or even death, it said.