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Citizen’s Charter of Responsibilities Towards Children


by Nadia Gianoli

*This draft: An outcome of “Inter Socio professional Dialogues on Prevention of Child Abuse”-31st January 2011 in Goa, India

Citizen’s Charter of Responsibilities Towards Children

Preamble

The Charter aims to protect, promote and preserve the best interests of children in India and to create a Society that is child friendly.

Also, to promote and cultivate a culture of responsibility to improve the life of children, protect their rights and freedom; and that all children deserve respect and special care and protection to develop and grow.

The social system in India invests an adult with full human dignity as if it is an innate character of her / his biological being; but in the case of the child the dignity and the autonomy of childhood is never recognized by the adult order, in the name of certain bi0logistic features of childhood. The traditional Indian social order glorifies childhood on the one hand; and on the other, denies the dignity of the child.

Paradoxically, in India abuse and exploitation of children takes such forms as child labour, sexual slavery, sale and trafficking of children, prostitution; the use of children in drug trafficking, the physical, sexual and psychological abuse of children within families, incest, discrimination against children with HIV/AIDS and forced displacement of children, with and without their families in armed conflicts.

The utter neglect of the child in India is, ironically enough, accompanied by all kinds of declarations, promises, and guarantees by the Indian state. The Constitution of India lays down as a Directive Principle of State Policy, that ... children are given opportunities and facilities to develop in a healthy manner and in conditions of freedom and dignity; and that childhood and youth are protected against exploitation; and against moral and material abandonment. The Parliament and State legislatures have enacted laws from time to time for the protection of interests and enforcement of the rights of the child in India. The National Policy for Children, a Government of India Resolution, declares that the nation’s children are a supremely important asset and that their nurture and solicitude is our responsibility.

Not withstanding all the above statements of humanistic ideals and public policy; and the Government of India’s praise for both, the Declaration of the Rights of the Child by the General Assembly of the United Nations; and the Convention on the Rights of the Child by the United Nations, yet a very large number of children in India continue to be neglected, exploited and abused.

Girl children are one of the most critically affected groups. The patriarchal order pines for the birth of a male child and attaches no value to a girl child. Efforts are first made to avoid the birth of a girl child, which, for the mother, often carries a serious social stigma. Female infanticide is also rampant in some of the urban and rural areas and in some particular communities. In most rural families the girl child, even if not actively killed, is neglected right from birth. She suffers discrimination in matters of food, health care and education. As a result she is forced into malnutrition, ill-health, illiteracy, non-education and ignorance. She is burdened with house-work right from the time she can walk and lift things. She is also a victim of family violence and sexual abuse. Many are forced to work in hard, demeaning jobs and some are sold into servitude, sexual or otherwise. A glaring result of this is the increasing decline of women in the population.

Profoundly concerned that the situation of children in many parts of India remains critical as a result of inadequate social conditions, natural disasters, armed conflicts, exploitation, illiteracy, hunger and disability, an urgent and effective National and International responsible action is called for.

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Citizen’s Charter of Responsibilities Towards Children
Published on: 29 October 2013
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