Child Rights Activists Appeal To Citizens To Vote For The Future Of ALL Children In India

Children don’t vote- but you do!

Let’s vote for our children to grow up with Tolerance and love.

Let’s vote for Constitutional Rights for ALL children Let’s vote against violence with impunity, cuts in funding for food, child care, education and killing in the name of religion and cow-vigilantism.

The upcoming election is crucial for the future of children in India, who are in a state of crisis.

Our Constitution guarantees all children the right to early childhood care, nourishment, and education, equal opportunities and facilities to develop in a healthy manner and in conditions of freedom and dignity. The constitution also promises protection to our children and youth from violence and exploitation, from being abused or forced by economic necessity to enter occupations unsuited to their age or strength.

There is no doubt that in the last five years, there has been a massive erosion of these Constitutional rights and of the wellness of India’s children. Violence against India’s children has increased disturbingly, while funds to support the basic needs of the most marginalized children has significantly decreased. Crime against children has risen by 16.39% between 2014 and 2016. Union Budgets for children have declined from 4.76% of the total allocations in 2012- 13 to 3.25 % in 2019-20.

Child protection: In 2016, the Global Slavery Index reported that India leads the world in modern slavery, sex, and labor trafficking. Children from vulnerable and marginalized groups have never been so insecure. Intolerance is being promoted actively. These children live in fear. Not only do they suffer from malnourishment, hunger and exploitation, but also have grossly inadequate childcare, and no practical access to education, increasingly children are victims of targeted and extreme violence like sexual abuse, trafficking and ‘cow lynching’.

As horrifying as it sounds, the rapes of children have increased by 82%. Equally horrifying is the fact that many of the child rapists continue to enjoy impunity, especially if the victims are Muslim, Dalit or OBC or other marginalized groups, as illustrated by the Kathua, Unnao and Muzaffarpur, Deoria and other shelter home cases. Cow vigilantes have killed with impunity a 12-year-old Muslim boy traveling to an animal fair in Jharkhand and two other Muslim children in Dadri found with two buffaloes in their truck. The 12-year old was beaten to death and hung from a tree. The fanatical rapists and murderers have been protected and defended simply because of their party and religious affiliation.

In the meanwhile, the introduction of the death penalty for the rapists of children has put them in greater danger. Half of India’s children are sexually abused.

Research demonstrates that very often those who abuse the children are family members or caregivers, Thanks to the death penalty, they often silence the children with great brutality, sometimes even murdering them, to conceal evidence.

On top of that, a clause was introduced in the Child Labour (Prohibition) Act of 2016 allowing children to work in “family enterprises” making at-risk children more vulnerable and confining them to caste-based occupations.

In another regressive measure, the Juvenile Justice Act was amended to allow for children, between the ages of 16 and 18, to be tried as adults in case of heinous offenses. Research shows, putting children into the criminal justice system further criminalizes them. Child rights activists and international children organizations say these children need education and an opportunity to reform and rehabilitation.

Education: The chances of a disadvantaged child fighting for a better future are being further smothered as free schools are being shut down and scholarships for higher education are being de-funded. Budgets for post matric scholarship scheme for SCs has been reduced by 60%; for girls’ hostel for SCs by 40.32 %; for post matric scholarship for OBCs by 17.35% and boys and for girls’ hostel for OBCs by 40%. Children with disabilities still ‘dream’ for inclusion.

History and science textbooks have been rewritten and now blatantly misrepresent historical facts by replacing them with myths. Textbooks and courses are re-enforcing regressive gender stereotypes. Girls are being groomed in some schools and universities to be “trained” in wifehood rather than career aspirations. In a Madhya Pradesh University, a three- month course on wifehood was introduced last year. A recent report by World Bank reveals that educated girls are dropping out of the workforce because they are being groomed to aspire for marriage first. A BJP candidate in Rajasthan even promised to legalize child marriage if elected!

Nutrition and childcare: 38% of children under age five years are stunted; 21 % of children under age five years are wasted, and 36% of children under age five are underweight –all signs of malnutrition and hunger. An estimated 8,143 crèches have closed between 2013-14 and 2016-17, and the number of women and children benefiting from the National Crèche Scheme has been cut by 39% (from 474, 775 to 290,925). Anganwadi workers who cook and care for millions of children as part of the Integrated Child Development Services, the world’s largest infant and pregnant mother nutrition programme, are paid one-tenth of the legal minimum wage. They recently went on strike saying that the government wants to replace the food cooked by them with packaged products made by MNCs. They have not been given food supplements for the last year in many states.

May we take a moment to remind our nation that children have rights as citizens of India, to equality, to personal liberty and due process of law; to nutrition and health and education; to being protected from being trafficked and forced into bonded labour and of course the right of minorities and of weaker sections to be protected from discrimination, social injustice and all forms of exploitation.

Any attempt to demand better for our children is side-lined. We want this to change. We don’t want children to be abused and exploited, forced to work, not go to school, neglected or be discriminated against. We want resources and measures for education, child care, and child protection.

Most of all, we want our children safeguarded and their rights as equal citizens of India to be protected.

Let’s vote for all rights for ALL children. India’s four hundred and eighty million children deserve better. They can’t vote today, you can.

Let’s vote for love, not hate.

Sources:
1. National Crime Records Bureau
2. Global Slavery Index
3. Government of India- Statements of Union Budget 4. HAQ-Centre for Child Rights
5. UNICEF

Signed
10-11 April 2019

      1. 1. Aatreyee Sen, Forum For Human Rights and Justice, Himachal Pradesh.
        2. Aban Raza, Painter
        3. Abheek Barman, Consulting Editor, The Economic Times, New Delhi
        4. Adv. Anastasia Gill, DMC Member
        5. Alka Saraogi, Writer
        6. Amarendra Shrivastwa, Child rights activist
        7. Amir Rizvi Human Rights Activis
        8. Ananya Chakraborti, Child Rights Activist, Kolkata
        9. AnastasiaGill,Advocate, DMCMember
        10. Anisha Ghosh Child Rights Activist
        11. Anita Ghai, Professor and Disability Rights Activist
        12. AnitaVaccharajani, Writer
        13. Anjali Monteiro, Professor, TISS
        14. Annie Namala, Wada Na Todo Abhiyan
        15. Antara Deb Sen, Writer
        16. Anthony Thomas, Senior Editor, Harper Collins India, Noida UP
        17. Anurag Kundu, Delhi Commission for Protection of Child Rights (DCPCR)
        18. Apurwa yagnik, Jaipur
        19. Apurwa Yagnik, Jaipur
        20. Arlene Manoharan, Social Worker & Child Rights Professional, Bangalore
        21. Ashish, Jan Jagaran Shakti Sangathan
        22. Ashish Jha, Jan Jagran Shakti Sanghatan
        23. Ashwini Alawadi, co-founder, RAHI, recovering and healing from incest
        24. Ayush Sharda, Ek Packet Umeed, Kolkata
        25. Babu Sarder, Beliaghata Both Foundation
        26. Baitali Ganguly, JABALA, Child Rights Activist, Kolkata
        27. Bharti Sharma, Retired Professor and Child Rights Activist
        28. Bhavreen Khandari, Environment Activist
        29. Bijayalaxmi Rautaray, Secretary, SAHAYOG, Bhubaneswar, Odisha
        30. Biswajit Goswami, Founder and Editor, Shadow and Green
        31. Bushra Alvi Razzak
        32. Chandrakanta, Centre for Social Equity and Inclusion
        33. Chandrakanta Khan, Social Activist, Patna
        34. Chithra Don Bosco
        35. Chitra Gopalakrishnan. Writer and Child Rights Activist
        36. Chitra Soundar, Writer, Storyteller, UK
        37. Chitra Sundar SOUNDAR, writer and storyteller, London
        38. Chris Anthony, Shades of happiness, Consecrated Life Against Trafficking inPersons
        39. Cynthia Stephen, Independent Researcher, Bangalore
        40. Deborah Baker, writer, New York
        41. Deepa Mehta, filmmaker Toronto
        42. Devaki Jain, Feminist Economist and Former Director Institute of SocialStudies Trust
        43. Devasia, Catholic Bishop’s Conference of India office for SC/BC
        44. Dhanpal, HAQ: Centre for Child Rights
        45. Emidio Pinho, SCAN- GOA
        46. Enakshi Ganguly, Child Rights Activist
        47. Esha I Choudhary, Caritas India
        48. Fr. Devasagayaraj, Catholic Bishops’ Conference of India Office for SC/BC
        49. Gargi Banerjee, Social activist
        50. Gauri Chakrabarty. Associate Professor, Amity School of Communication
        51. Harsh Mandar, Activist
        52. Ignatius.V, PARA, Andhra Pradesh
        53. Indira Pancholi, Mahila Jan Adhikar Samiti, Child Rights Activist
        54. Indrani Chakraborty, Child Rights Activist, Kolkata
        55. Ishita Mukherjee
        56. Jean Dreze, Economist and Social Activist, Ranchi
        57. Jeroo Mulla, Visiting Faculty, Sophia Polytechnic, Mumbai
        58. John Dayal, Social Activist
        59. Joyatri Ray, Child Rights Activist, Bangalore
        60. Jyoti Duhan Rathi, Delhi Commission for Protection of Child Rights (DCPCR)
        61. Kajol Menon, Co-Founder LEHER and Child Rights Activist
        62. Kalpana Purushothaman, Psychologist, Bangalore
        63. Kamayani, jan jagran Shakti Sanghatan
        64. Karuna Bishnoi, Child Rights Activist
        65. Keshar Kumar, Trade Unionist
        66. Khushboo Jain Child Rights Researcher, Delhi
        67. Khushboo Mishra, Child Rights Activist, Delhi
        68. Komal Ganotra, Child Rights Professional
        69. Fr. Koshy, Don Bosco National Forum for the Young at Risk, New Delhi and Child Rights Activist
        70. Kumar Shailabh, Co-director, HAQ: Centre for Child Rights
        71. Kusum Tripathi, SNDT University, Mumbai
        72. Maharukh Adenwalla, Advocate, Child Rights Activist, Mumbai
        73. Maina Bhagat
        74. Manoj Kumar Dash, India Volunteer, Integrated Volunteers Network (IVN),New Delhi
        75. Mausami Bhattacharya, ICSSR Post Doctoral Fellow, Jamia Milia Islamia, New Delhi
        76. Meera Vardhan, Lucknow
        77. Mehrun Siddique, Social Activist
        78. Mira Shiva, Activist
        79. Minoti Bahri -Founder Chairperson Shikshantar School.
        80. Mohammed Siraj, Child Rights Activist and Founder, Panchan
        81. Muthamma B. Devaya, Disability Rights Activist, Bangalore
        82. Nabaneeta Deb Sen, Writer and Scholar, Kolkata
        83. Nachiketa Mittal, Professor and Social Activist
        84. Nalini Kant, Manavi, Ranchi
        85. Nandana Sen, Children’s Book Writer, New York
        86. Nandini Majrekar, Professor, TISS Mumbai
        87. Nandita Pal Choudhary, Crafts Advocate
        88. Nasiruddin, Journalist , Lucknow
        89. Nawlesh Kr Singh, State Convenor, Campaign against Child Labour 90. Nayanika Mahatani, Children’s book writer, London
        91. Neel Mukherjee, writer, London and Boston
        92. Neil Roberts, Child Rights Activist, Chandigarh
        93.Nicole Range lMenezes,Co-Funder LEHER,ChildRightsActivist
        94. Nikhil Kumar, Delhi
        95. Nilanjana Roy, children’s book writer
        96. Nilima Mehta, Professor and Child Rights Specialist
        97. Nimisha Srivastava, Child Rights worker, Delhi
        98. Nitin Wadhwani, Director, NGO Citizens Association for Child Rights (CACR), Mumbai
        99. Niti Saxena, Human Rights Activist and Researcher
        100. Nitya Singh, Activist
        101. Nivedita Jha Shakeel, Writer and Social Activist
        102. eNiyati Singh, Activist
        103. N. Paneer Selvam, Kiruba Welfare Trust, Chennai
        104. Nutin Wadhwani, director, NGO Citizens Association for Child Rights,Mumbai
        105. Padmaja Shaw, Rtd. Professor, Journalism, Osmania University
        106. Papiha Nandy
        107. Paramita Saha, Dancer and Arts Manager, Kolkata
        108. Paro Anand, Children’s Stories Writer
        109. PAROMITA Saha, Dancer and arts Manager Kolkata
        110. Paromita Shastri, Writer and Child Rights Activist
        111. Piali Bhattacharya, women’s rights activist
        112. PK Sharma, Centre Direct
        113. Prabir Basu, SPAN, Kolkata
        114. Pratishtha Singh, Rajasthan
        115. Preeti Agarwal Mehta, Delhi
        116. Preeti Patkar, Prerana, Mumbai and Child Rights Activist
        117. Preeti Singh,Co-Director, HAQ: Centre for Child Rights
        118. Puneeta Roy, The Yuva Ekta Foundation
        119. Radha Mishra, Retd Professor, SNDTWU, Pune
        120. Radhika Menon, Children’s Publisher, Tulika, Chennai
        121. Rafey Hussain, Save the Children
        122. Raja Sen, Film Critic and Children’s Book Writer
        123. Ranjeeta
        124. Ram, Child Psychologist
        125. Ratna Saxena, Independent Researcher and Child Rights Activist
        126. Riyaz
        127. Reena Mohan, film-maker , Delhi
        128. Reshma Singh, AALI, Jharkhand
        129. Robert Dequadros, Social activist
        130. Rosina Ahmed, Doctor
        131. Ruchira Goswami, NUJS, Kolkata
        132. Ruchira Gupta, The Last Girl Apne Aap
        133. Sarfaraz Ahmed Khan
        134. Sadaf Jafar, Founder, Kalrav
        135. Sister Carol, SASVIKA
        136. Sadanand Bag, Human Rights Activist
        137. Saddiq Passah, Child Rights Activist
        138. Sajal Banerjee, Filmmaker
        139. Sandokpam Ranjeeta, Human Rights Alert, Manipur
        140. Father Sebestian
        141. Sanjoy Roy, Founder, Trustee, Salaam Baalak Trust, New Delhi
        142. Father Sonychen Mathew SDB, Chithra Don Bosco
        143. Sister Arpan Carvalho BS. Amrat-Talitha Kum India- The internationalnetwork of consecrated life against trafficking in persons
        144. Satya Gopal Dey, Vikramshila Education Resource Society
        145. Saif Mahmood, Writer and lawyer, Delhi
        146. Seema K Treangpi, Bread for Life Trust, Catholic Bishops’ Conference ofIndia,Office for SC/BC
        147. Samim Sultana, Child Rights Activist
        148. Saira Shah Haleem
        149. Sanghamitra Sen, Scientist, Santa Barbara
        150. Sara Khan, Social Activist
        151. Shantha Sinha, Former Member of National Commission for Protection ofChild Rights (NCPCR) and Child Rights Activist
        152. Sayeda Hameed, Muslim women’s forum, Delhi
        153. Shika Shetty, Child Rights Activist, Bangalore
        154. Shaaz Ahmed
        155. Shahina Javed, Child Rights Activist
        156. Shray Ragi Israni, designer
        157. Shalini Dhawan, Designer
        158. Sreemoyee Sen Ram – Social Worker and Child Rights Professional
        159. Shama Afroze, Child Rights Campaigner
        160. Sister Smita Parmar, Social Activist, Bihar
        161. Shimantini Dhuru, Educationist, Filmmaker
        162. Sister Leena Padam
        163. Shireen Vakil, Child Rights Activist
        164. Siddharth P, Mumbai. Child Rights Activist, Bihar
        165. Sister Jayarani Deepshikha
        166. Siddiqua Parveen, Legal Consultant, WBCPCR
        167. Simantini Dhuru, Educationist, Film Maker
        168. Sneha Dey Roy, Goonj
        169. Sneha Mishra, AAINA, Child Rights Activist, Odisha
        170. Sneha Sharma, Centre for Child Rights, CNLU, Patna
        171. Stalin Padma, Film Maker and Human Rights Activist
        172. Steve Rohan Rocha, Nine is Mine and PRATYeK
        173. Sudeshna Roy, Fimmaker
        174. Sumitra Mishra, Child Rights Activist, Delhi
        175. Sunil Jha, Child Rights Activist
        176. Sr. Sabrina, Loreto Rainbow Homes
        177. Sunita, Social Activist, Bihar
        178. Susmita Chanda, Program Consultant, WBCPCR
        179. Swagata Raha, Legal Researcher
        180. Syeda Hameed, Muslim Women’s Forum, Social Activist Former Memberof Planning Commission and National Women’s Commission
        181. Tannistha Datta, Child Rights Activist
        182. Tavishi Alagh, Film-maker
        183. Tinku Khanna, Apne Aap, Kolkata
        184. T.Martin Sudhakar, people’s action for rural awakening, Andhra Pradesh
        185. Uma Subaramanian, Social Worker and Child Rights Activist
        186. Valay Singh Rai, Author, Child Rights Activist
        187. Varghese Theckanath s.g. Montfort Social Institute
        188. Varunditya Chauhan, digital marketeer, Gwalior
        189. Veenu Kakkar, Independent Development Consultant
        190. Vibhuti Patel, TISS, Mumbai
        191. Victor Raj, Campaign Against Child Labour (CACL)
        192. Vinita Saraf, Ektara
        193. Vinod K Jose, Journalist
        194. Vipin Bhatt, Child Rights Activist
        195. Yasho Vardhan
        196. Zain Awan, Editor (Print and Online), ANI News
Photo Credits : AP Photo/Anupam Nath

Words By : Group of Child Rights Activists

Group of Child Rights Activists

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