Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Bhubaneswar, Aug 10:
With children in Odisha, and across India facing the risk and pain of violence, maltreatment and neglect every day, NGOs of the state have come together to promote and protect their right to safety and well-being.
Pledging to make Odisha “violence-free” for all children in the state, 43 NGOs from all parts of Odisha have formed a united state forum to carry their commitment forward. The Odisha group is a part of an expanding national forum “National Action and Coordination Group to end violence against children”.
In his introductory remarks, Ranjan Kumar Mohanty, Convenor of Odisha Alliance on Convention on Rights of the Child; called for urgent action by Government and Non Government organizations, statutory bodies, corporate, elected people’s representatives, media and all key stakeholders to end violence against children in Odisha .
Razia Ismail, Chairperson of India Alliance for Child Rights & Interim Working Group Member, NACG, called for firm action to prevent and punish the rising incidence of violence on children. Both abuse and neglect of children is a national emergency, she said, adding millions of childhood in India have been threatened and ruined by different forms of violence. She urged urgent attention to prevent violence and protect children and called for stringent action against the violators. The Odisha NGOs move to form the state forum brings Odisha into the South Asian Initiative to end Violence Against Children (SAIVAC) she said.
Speaking on the occasion Laxminarayan Nanda, Child protection Specialist, UNICEF Odisha, said the responsibilities of the group is to decide first what strategy to follow to check violence against children and conduct extensive research on the same. The challenges in Odisha context is how to break the culture of silence to address the issue, he said stressing that we need to activate existing institutions like CWS, JJB etc.
Mrs. Kasturi Mohapatra, State Commissioner for persons with disabilities, Odisha said every day we come across victims of violence, negligence and exploitation in newspapers, television and radio. There are policies and programmes to address the issue, but what is lacking is their effective implementation. She lamented that children with disability are facing different forms of violence throughout their life for which we all need to work together.
Speaking on the occasion, Rajendra Meher, Member, Odisha State Commission for protection of child rights, said making laws alone will not work in addressing the issue of violence against children in our state. Rather we should devote our expertise, power, knowledge for effective implementation of existing laws, policies and programmes..
All children up to 18 years, regardless of their class, identity and abilities must be protected, and policies, laws and official orders must be expressed in effective practical measures and honest vigilance on results, the Odisha state forum has declared. Children must be consulted to ensure their views are respected and their voices heard in the safeguarding efforts.
Prakash Rath of Open Learning System proposed the vote of thanks.