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Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Let's call it "Child Rights Day"

Recently in Kolkata, a child committed suicide and the reason is this: Allegedly a teacher gave punishment with a cane and he couldn’t take the embarrassment anymore.

This is a case of blatant child rights violation. Article 19 of an International treaty called 'United Nations Convention on Child Rights' (UNCRC) to which India is a signatory, states the following:

States parties shall take all appropriate legislative, administrative, social and educational measures to protect the child from all forms of physical or mental violence, injury or abuse, neglect or negligent treatment, maltreatment or exploitation, including sexual abuse, while in the care of parent(s), legal guardian(s), or any other person who has the care of the child.

In response to joining UNCRC, India has passed a legislation called Juvenile & Justice Act in the year 2000 in which section 23 states the following:

Punishment for cruelty to juvenile or child: Whoever, having the actual charge of, or control over, a juvenile or the child, assaults, abandons, exposes or willfully neglects the juvenile or causes or procures him to be assaulted, abandoned, exposed or neglected in a manner likely to cause such juvenile or the child unnecessary mental or physical suffering shall be punishable with imprisonment for term which may extend to six months, or fine, or with both.

Having said this, now that the accused teacher in Calcutta claimed ignorance of the law on corporal punishment and that brings an important issue to the surface. How do we create awareness about child rights to general public? I feel that India should call November 14th as "Child Rights Day" instead of “Children’s Day”. It'll be like any special day like "Mother's Day" or "Father's Day" and over a period of time I can assure you that there will be increased awareness on Child Rights. I have been saying this since 2008 and I hope someone is listening before many children like Rouvanjit Rawla chooses an extreme measure to end their life.

I suggest that in memory of Rouvanjit Rawna, Indian government should consider bringing in a legislation to change November 14th as a “Child Rights Day”.

1 comment:

Lynda said...

Ruby,

This is horrific and unacceptable. Something definately needs to be done to ensure it doesn't happen to even one more child. Can you write an article in the Indian newspapers to help make people more aware of these issues and that they are unacceptable? Maybe for Father's Day?
Keep up the great work being the voice for these children.