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Statistics of child labour highest in the state
Staff Reporter DIMAPUR, MAR 18 (NPN):
Published on 19 Mar. 2011 1:03 AM IST
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A workshop on ‘Child Rights’ was conducted on the second day of the ongoing 4th North East Poetry Festival 2011 Friday at NEZCC complex Dimapur. It may be noted that the festival, organized jointly by United Tribal Society Dimapur, Ministry of Culture and NEZCC, is being held on the theme ‘Child Rights’ as a poetic expression to create awareness and sensitize parents, educators, social workers, NGOs, public leaders and children themselves on the rights of children.
The workshop focused on the plight of abuse and exploitation suffered by countless children across the globe in general and in the context of the NE region in particular. Resource persons of the programme- Guwahati based journalist and poet, the only poet from the north east to have received the Epic Literary Council certificate (an international poetry forum), Nazneen Hussain, HoD Khasi NEHU Prof. Streamlet Dkhar and assistant Prof. Aketoli S. Sumi of Unity College Dimapur English department- delivered a presentation each on protection and rights of children as guaranteed by the Constitution of India and deliberated on safeguarding children from abuse, neglect, exploitation and discrimination.
Dwelling on the scenario of child exploitation in Nagaland, Aketoli Sumi presented a collective data of surveys conducted by CECS and labour department in the state. It was learnt that current statistics of child labour in the state was highest among the Konyak tribe in Mon district with 30%, followed by Tuensang with 22%, Adivasi and Ao tribe with 11% while others constituted 17%. Many children victims of child labour were reported to be from poor backgrounds, and more than 9000 cases of child labour were mainly concentrated in urban areas like Dimapur, Kohima and Mokokchung.
Drawing conclusion that literacy and poverty were the main factors for child trafficking, the presentation underscored the need for proper implementation of Right to Education (RTE) Act at the grassroots levels to enable children from those backgrounds to avail free education and guard the rise in child labour.
Pointing that dehumanization of children itself questioned the morality of the society around them, Nazneen Hussain said focusing on what people could do as “conscious citizens” in minimizing abuse of child rights was the need of the hour. She opined that awareness needed to be created, beginning from the home, and then put into practice what was being taught. She also stressed her presentation on Articles 21A, 24, 39(e) and 39(f) of the Indian constitution which ensures certain rights for children such as free and compulsory education for children between 6-14 years of age; protection from hazardous employment, against abuse, exploitation etc. Stating that despite so many rights enshrined by the Constitution, Hussain lamented that the reality that “stares us in the face is shocking.” It was pointed out that according to a report by Global Organization for Life Development, almost 20% of the NE region’s children between 11-17 years of age were involved in prostitution, and subsequent growth of the figure at a rate of 5% had led experts to identify the region as a major center of human trafficking.
The presentation also stated that child trafficking in the region remains a serious problem despite government’s commitments under Convention on Rights of the Child (CRC), the National Child Labour Prohibition and Regulation Act 1986 and Juvenile Justice Act 2006.On child abuse, Hussain’s presentation outlined poverty as the main factor responsible. While stating child labour could be checked if people began to refuse to employ children in their homes, she added such exploitation could be minimized through sensitization at various levels by working towards pressuring active groups to further take actions in identifying problem areas and implement solutions.
Meanwhile, Prof. Streamlet Dkhar stated that child rights were the fundamental, vital freedoms and inherent rights of children under 18 years of age, and protection crucial to ensuring that children had rights, confidence and environment in which they could make choices, express their views and communicate effectively with others. She stressed on Acts passed by India to protect child rights including Child Marriage Restraint Act; Immoral Traffic Prevention Act 1956; Juvenile Justice Act; Prohibition of Child Marriage Act; the Child Labour Prohibition and Regulation Act 1986; the Right to Free and Compulsory Education Act 2009; and other national guidelines and measures relating to child rights. Highlighting child labour cases recorded in NE in the past, Prof. Streamlet stated in her presentation that while the rest of NE states rated with huge number of cases ranging from 18000-54000, Assam recorded an alarming total of more than 3,51000 between 1991-2001. She put forward that departments and ministries that needed to work together for abolition of child labour could include labour, education, police, youth affairs, Panchayati Raj, women and child development, and judiciary.
She further said it was pertinent for parents, teachers and institutions to know and understand what child rights were so as to fulfill those rights. On the other hand, children also should be given information so that they would be aware of their different rights, Prof. Streamlet said.
“All of us should stand for the rights of the children as they are the future of our country. We should not be selfish in helping them to know of their own rights,” she added.
Earlier, a drawing competition on the festival theme was also conducted, where more than 100 students from about 8 schools participated. Organizers informed that a book on Child Rights would be released shortly and selected drawings from Friday’s competition would be featured in the book.

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