Not child’s play

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One of the most disturbing trends with regard to child rights is that the violators of child rights are not convicted. This has come to light as per report of the Manipur Alliance for Child Rights. The convener of the organization, K Pradipkumar while speaking to the media persons explained that the number of cases of child rights violation in a small state like Manipur is very alarming. He informed that the number of reported cases of child rights violation is about 895. Here it must be mentioned that it is only the tip of the iceberg. There must certainly be un-reported cases of the violation of child rights as our society is yet to get used to complaining. MACR seems to have done research on child rights violation such as rape, child trafficking, murder, suicide, child soldiers, displacement and others which includes abandoned children, kidnapping attempt to murder and bomb blast injuries. The report of the said study says that the worst part in child rights violations is the non-conviction of culprits. So far 12 culprits have been arrested but none was convicted. Which means that these culprits will continue to commit crimes against children because they feel that they can continue committing such crimes without getting arrested or charged or convicted? This is one of the primary concerns of organisations working for child rights. The state more particularly the Social welfare Department needs to come into the picture by establishing a support structure for such organization working in the field of child rights. There is also the issue of rehabilitation of children such as in the case of child trafficking, rape, displacements is none. The main reason that children are being trafficked is because of extreme poverty, unavailability of education, care and other resources which make them vulnerable to getting trafficked. Therefore, when children are rescued and sent back to their parents if rehabilitation is not provided, there is no guarantee that the child is free from getting trafficked again. This is the basic issue regarding rehabilitation. How does one guarantee that the child will not fell again into the trap of child traffickers or for that matter into child labour? Hundreds of children from the rural and hill areas are employed right in the heart of Imphal city and the Labour department ignores it. There is also another story about why do they ignore such conditions of child labour? They understand fully that the children so employed are the bread earners of the family as none of them are employed in any other sector. Yes, one understands that there are brokers and middlemen involved in the business of providing children in the hotels of Imphal. But, when one endeavours to rescue the child in question, the family does not approve of it as the child happens to be the bread earner of the family. So, the basic question comes down to who would look after the family of the child so rescued. Simply put, it is not only the child but the family that needs to be rescued from poverty. Again there is the Right to Education Act, 2009. It has not been implemented in any private school in Manipur. According to the Act, 25% of the seats should be reserved for the weaker section of the society such as socially disadvantaged children (ST/ST), parentless, HIV infected and affected children, children with special needs etc. It has not been implemented. Social Welfare Minister Ak Mirabai, said that the state commission for protection of child rights will be functioning soon as the screening test has been completed and other preparations are also nearing to completion. She further said that with the formation of the committee the number of cases related to child rights will definitely go down. This commission would have the right to enquire upon the activities of the government agencies involved with child rights and the selection committee need to be of a higher order. The Social Welfare Minister needs to take this into account before constituting such a committee and if she has already constituted it she must be ready to revise it.

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