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CHILDLINE 1098 Service » 1098 Events » NICP Workshop with GRP Police » Session #1 - Child Rights by Ms. Sarita Shankaran

Methodology: Presentation and Discussion.

Ms. Sarita Shankaran started her presentation by asking a question - who give us rights?

The participants responded her as State, law, society, parents, teachers, education, judiciary, position or designation.

Then she explained about United Nations Human Rights Declaration.

She asked participant why UN came into being. They said it came to being after World War II to bring peace.

Then she spoke about United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC). She asked why we need separate rights for the children.

Some of the participants responded as children cannot take their decisions, they are the future of our country etc. she told them that UNCRC in a simple language "it's a promise that the international community has made to children in respect of the rights of children. She told them that the UNCRC has been ratified by 192 countries of the world. India also has ratified UNCRC in 1992. All nations have to send a status report to the UN every 5 years. The UNCRC is not legally applicable but forms the basis for all laws made for children. She mentioned that the UNRC has 57 articles.

She told that UNCRC defines child as person under 18years. But in India we find various laws defines child on different age criteria. She mentioned that UNCRC is applicable to all children from all religions, race, castes, creeds, classes.

Then she explained different articles of UNCRC.

Rights of Survival:

  • Every child has the right to life. Article 6
  • Children who are disabled, either mentally or physically, have a right to Special care and education so they can lead full and independent lives. Article 23
  • All children have a right to good health and good quality health care.
  • All children should have clean water, nutritious food and a clean environment so they stay healthy. Article 24
  • All children have the right to a decent standard of living. The Government should help families who cannot afford to Provide a decent standard of living for their children. Article 27

Right To Development:

  • All children have the right to an education. Article 28
  • The purpose of education is to develop every child's personality, talents and Mental and physical abilities. Article 29
  • Education should teach children to respect their parents, their own and other cultures. Article 29
  • Education should prepare children to live responsibly and peacefully in a free society. Article 29
  • Education should teach children to respect the natural environment. Article 29
  • All children have the right to relax and play, and to join a wide range of activities. Article 31

Right to Protection:

  • All children have a right to be able to give their opinion when adults are making a decision that will affect them, and adults should take it seriously. Article 12
  • All children have a right to find out things, and say what they think through speaking, writing, drawing etc. unless it breaks the rights of others. Article 13
  • All children have the right to meet, make friends with, and join clubs with other children. Article 15
  • All children have the right to privacy. Article 16
  • All children have the right to information from TV, radio, newspapers and the internet. These media should provide information that children can understand. Article 17

Right to Participation:

  • All children should be protected from violence, abuse and neglect, and governments should protect them. Article 19
  • Children should not be allowed to do work that is dangerous or might make them ill, or stops them going to school. Article 32
  • Children have a right to be protected from dangerous drugs, and from the business of making or selling them. Article 33
  • Nobody can do anything to a child's body that the child does not want them to do, and Grown-ups should protect children. Article 34
  • No child should be punished in a way that humiliates, often or hurts them. Article 37

She asked participants what they understand by the term "in the best interest of the child". She asked them what if 16years old girl fall in love and want to get married. The participant told that she is below 18 year and not capable of taking her own decision. If we allow her, then her other rights will get violated.

Ms. Mary shared that many of the religious practices are violating child rights. Like in the Jain religion minor girls are forced to become monks/Sadhvis.

Then Ms. Sarita explained a term duty bearer and right holder. In case of Child rights, Right holders are Children and duty bearer includes all of us. But final and the main duty bearer is the State. The State Cannot deny its responsibility as the main duty bearer to fulfill rights of the children.

Then she presented two cases and asked them some question related to the case.

Case 1: Arun is a 10 year old boy. His mothers died and he lived with his father. His father brought him to Mumbai. He arrived at VT station where a man met him. He promised to give Arun a job. He paid Arun's father Rs. 2000 and asked him to leave Arun on the station. Arun's father went away. Arun began crying. A crowd gathered and you are called to take action:

1. What will you do immediately?

Answers- the participants said they will take child in custody and make him calm down

2. What do you think could happen to Arun if he was not helped?

Answers - They replied as if they don't help Arun, then he might become a child labour, or get abused, he can become child beggar or delinquent , he can get into drug addiction, can be get trafficked.

3. Should Arun be returned to his father if he came to claim Arun?

Answers- They told that they won't return Arun to the father. They will arrest him and present Arun before CWC.

One of the participants shared that CWC many times asks police about whether to the child to parents or not. She said that CWC should decide on their own since police gets blame for it.

Ms. Mary told him that since police is the investigating agency CWC asks them for their findings/observations.

Ms. Sarita told them that CWC does not take decision immediately after police gives their observation. It reviews all the evidence and situation.

Then she shared another case study with them.

Case 2 - Laxmi is a 12 year old girl. She lived in West Bengal and her family was extremely poor. Her neighbor Ratna convinced her mother to send her to Mumbai so that she could work as a maid and support the family. She paid Laxmi's mother Rs. 5000 as advance and took her to Mumbai. Ratna and Laxmi arrive at Kurla terminus. Ratna meets other women and talk to them. They begin to quarrel. Laxmi stands puzzled. You are passing by and see this scene.

1. What will be your first step?

They responded as they will first stop the quarrel, enquire to a girl, they will separate both parties and enquire separately to them.

2. Will you be able to determine if Laxmi has been trafficked?

If they enquire separately then they might get some clue. They can take woman into custody and can trace address of the girl or can call mother of that girl.

Ms. Sarita told them that GRP staff should observe well since long route trains are the main source for the child trafficking.

3. What will you do when you realize that Laxmi is being trafficked?

They responded as they will book that women for trafficking and find out if there is a racket behind this. They will see how many girls they have brought to Mumbai which can be rescued. They will present case before CWC. Whenever CWC asks they will give their reports/observation to the CWC.