Magsaysay award winner and chairperson of the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR), Dr. Shantha Sinha, on Saturday called for conducting more studies and research towards evolving strong policies to protect the rights of children between 14 and 18 years of age. Dr. Sinha said that children in that age group are very vulnerable, with many of them getting married and having at least two to three children before they turn 18.
“An early child marriage is a violation of human rights. We know what abuse, physical and sexual, a young girl goes through if she isn’t protected from this kind of situation of marriage,” she added.
She was speaking here at an award function in which she was presented the Upendra Nath Brahma Soldier of Humanity Award, 2012, by the Upendra Nath Brahma Trust. The award — instituted in the memory of ‘Bodofa’ (Father of the Bodos), late Upendra Nath Brahma, under whose leadership the Bodos declared their statehood movement on March 2, 1987 — carries a citation, a memento and an amount of Rs. 25,000.
She said that millions of children who are out of school in the country, either end up as labourers, or are trafficked, which leads them into a nexus of criminal activities and armed conflict. It is only education that can keep them safe and in schools, Dr. Sinha said.
Pro Vice-Chancellor of Tezpur University, Prof. Amarjyoti Choudhury, noted educationist Basanta Deka, Bodo Sahitya Sabha president Kameswar Brahma, and president of the All Bodo Students’ Union, Pramode Boro, were some other speakers at the award function.
Keywords: child rights