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Ladakh

Expert Talk

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Child Rights
By Stanzin Dasal, Tuesday, August 1, 2017

LEH:
Chotak Gyatso- Programme Manager, Leh Nutrition Project: The concept of Civil Society Alliance (CSA) on Child Rights was initiated in the year 2015 with few people.  Today it is comprised of 36 General body members and 19 Executive Committee members which include representatives from socio-religious organisations, media organisation, public representatives, legal experts, subject experts, NGOs, business associations, academicians, etc. As a priority, the Alliance focuses on the promotion of child rights. 

Children are more vulnerable than adults and they have special needs and are depending on adults for their safety and well-being. The Convention on the Rights of the Children (CRC) was adopted by United Nations in 1989 and India has ratified in 1992. 

Talking in terms of Ladakh, children issues, genders issue and many other social issues are generally ignored and paid least attention by our policy makers and administrator.  We have LAHDC, which is the highest policy and decision maker body at the district level. But their focus is mostly on infrastructure development of the society and hardly any discussion is made on children, women and disabled issues. 

I think every member of the society, villages and parents need to be alert, vigilant and aware about the child rights, crimes and abuses.  The CSA will create awareness among the society in future and will endeavour to strengthen Govt. child protection mechanism through advocacy.

Recently, a study known as District Need Assessment (DNA) was conducted in Nubra and Khaltse education zone and was focused on child protection. The assessment was done in collaboration with UNICEF and Leh Nutrition Project with technical support of Leher (an NGO based in Delhi). The study reveals that in our society, there exists a corporal punishment, substance abuse, child labour particularly domestic helper, Child marriage practices especially in Turtuk and Dha Hanu region.  

The Shey Lamdon incident is very shocking which has shaken the entire Ladakh region. We the CSA has initiated a protest rally and submitted a memorandum to DC and SSP. This is not the end, in fact, this is the beginning, we all, every society, villages and parents has to be awakened and alert on such issues. We need to keep a check on all kinds of social evils or harmful practices. We as a society should be able to provide a safe, secure and clean environment for our children. 

I think measure should come from various levels to protect the children from various harmful practices.  To protect a child from abuse, exploitation, neglect, discrimination and violence the prime responsibility is their parents, then society, District administration that includes various child protection mechanism or institutions, state and Centre Govt.  Awareness cum sensitization session should be for parents/ families, schools, societies at all levels.

Another important point I would like to make it here in regards to the Govt. part is that the  Integrated Child Protection Scheme (ICPS), a centrally sponsored scheme which was launched many years ago in others states of India was launched in J&K state in the year 2017. Similarly, we have J&K Juvenile Justice Act for care and protection of children.  These schemes and acts are not fully implemented yet in our state, many child protection mechanism structures like Child Welfare Committee (CWC) and Juvenile Justice Board (JJB) need to be established in our district. As per the JJ Act, there is a provision to create a special Juvenile Police Unite (SJPU). In our district, the police dept has created an SJPU but it is not adequate and this police unit has to be oriented as per JJ act. 

Our society should be awakened, the child protection mechanism and structures as I mentioned above should be responsive, alert, efficient and professional.

SOLUTION: 

Child protection mechanism or institutions is the need of the hour

Child Welfare Committee (CWC) and Juvenile Justice Board (JJB) need to be established.

Awareness cum sensitization session should be for parents/ families, schools, societies at all levels.

Need to keep a vigil on all this kind of social evils or harmful practices.

Mohd Sharif Bhat, General Manager, SAVE: Save the Children fights for children’s rights and delivers immediate and lasting improvements to children’s lives worldwide. For the last 39 years, it has been working in J&K, covering 17 districts in all the three regions of the state (Ladakh, Srinagar and Jammu).

In Jammu and Kashmir, we work for 

• Child Protection
• Quality Inclusive Education and
• Humanitarian Response & Child Centered Disaster Risk Reduction.

Child Protection

The child protection work of Save the Children in J&K mainly focuses on creating a protective environment for the children especially affected by conflict in the State. Towards meeting this objective,  we have been advocating and working closely with all the concerned Departments of State Government, Judiciary, Police, Civil Society members and communities on the issues of child protection and child protection systems, mechanism, policy and legislations in place. 

Save the Children has provided technical support to the State Government in developing Rules for J&K JJ Act 2013, trained 1200 Police Officers, 150 lawyers and all the Social Welfare Officers in the State on JJ Act, introduced Child Protection Policy in schools with 7000 teachers signing the same and drafting the State Child Policy and State Action Plan for Children which is in progress. Currently, we are providing technical support to the State Government for effective implementation of J&K Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act 2013, Integrated Child Protection Scheme and Quality Standards of Care and Protection for the Institutions in J&K State. It has been advocating for effective implementation of Right to Education in the State thus imposing a complete ban on the child labour in the State.

Quality Inclusive Education:

Under education thematic area the focus of save the children work in Jammu and Kashmir has been to bring about quality inclusive education.  To achieve this objective in the State some of the interventions undertaken includes designing of training modules on Inclusive Education, Capacity Building of Mid- level Managers, Development of quality standards for schools, Formation of Children groups, Capacity building of VEC’s, Training of teachers and Development of Schools Development Plans. 

We also work with government and other like-minded NGO’s to bring Right to Education, Education Vision Strategy and Policy in the state of J&K.

Humanitarian Response and Child Centred Risk Reduction:

Under Humanitarian Response and Child Centred Risk Reduction, Save the Children   J& K work to ensure that Livelihood Support is given to Conflict-affected families and medical support to injured and Awareness Programmes on mine risk education. Children and their families are better prepared to cope with disasters in the long run, by developing community-based ,district level emergency preparedness plans.Save the Children has been involved in continuous dialogue with different stakeholder like government, media and other civil society members for incorporating Children related chapter in the State Disaster Management Policy and provided humanitarian support in different emergencies.

In terms of child protection and rights problem faced in Ladakh is that there is no child protection mechanism in place and JJ Act & ICPS yet to be implemented on the ground.

Children of the society face corporal punishment, child labour, child abuse in institutions, children living in the border area and drug abuse. With time and changes, to protect children from various harms we need to implement Child safeguarding policy and Protection of children from Sexual Offence and POCSO Act, proper awareness on the issue, establishment of reporting mechanism and training of caretaker and law enforcement agencies on JJ Act and ICPS

SOLUTIONS

Child safeguarding policy for school
Provided technical support for framing law and rules for JJ Act
Quality standard for institutions
State Child Policy 
Alternative care guidelines
Orphan Study
Study on violence against children in Leh 


 
                   
 
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