To press government agencies to adopt NCPCR proposals

There are lapses relating to protection of child rights in Dakshina Kannada district that have to be set right, said Renni D’Souza, child rights activist and Director of Padi, a non-governmental organisation. He was speaking at a discussion on child rights in the city on Saturday.

He gave the example of the Children’s Home in Bondel, which was set up in the district after a demand was made for it. However, the home, which was set up to accommodate 50 children, did not have a single child because there was no guard and the guard’s job could not be outsourced, he said.

“Ultimately, the system has to react,” he said. While the institutions for protection of child rights existed, awareness of issues related to children’s rights among people was important. “But for a system to work, people, people’s representatives, and those who work with children, must know (about the issues),” he said.

He said the recommendations made by Yogesh Dube, Member, National Commission for Child Rights Protection (NCPCR), who visited Mangalore in May this year, were “worth discussing”.

He said the “Report on children coming from the Northeast to Mangalore and situation of children institutions in Mangalore” had made recommendations to all government departments concerned, including the departments of Social Welfare, Education, Labour, Women and Child Development, and Health and Family Welfare.

He said: “Though NCPCR recommendations are not binding on the Government, awareness (among people) can put pressure on the government to implement the recommendations.”

Some of the recommendations included: sending case history details (as per the Juvenile Justice Act) to the Commission within 15 working days; tracing children missing from NGO-run institutions; and that the Child Welfare Committee should inspect all 41 institutions for children in Mangalore and send a report to the Commission.

Campaign planned

A one-month-long “jaatha” (campaign), called ‘Makkala Masothsava’ aimed at raising awareness, particularly on issues raised by the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR), will be organised, he said.

Mr. D’Souza, who is the Convenor of the ‘Makkala Masothsava’, said that the month-long campaign to raise awareness of protecting child rights, was likely to begin on November 14.

Civil society organisations, in collaboration with the district administration, will organize the campaign.

He said the campaign may run from November 14 to December 14. However, the dates would be finalised only after discussions with the Deputy Commissioner, he said.

Right to Education

The focus of the campaign would be on raising awareness of child protection rights and the Right to Education (RTE) among members of the public, people’s representatives and officials, said Umesh Nirmal, president, Dakshina Kannada District Federation of Education Resource Centres (FERC).

Mr. D’Souza said that a children’s ‘mela’, activities to promote science among children, would be organised during the month. The month-long campaign would aim at raising awareness of the need to implement ‘Makkala Gram Sabhas’. Awareness will be created through training and handbills.

A booklet on child rights, sponsored by the Department of Education, would also be distributed.

Officials from Sarva Shikshana Abhiyan, teachers and representatives of NGOs were present at the discussion.

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