‘Child rights must be crux of progress’
26 March 2013, New Delhi, Team MP
The rights of the world’s most vulnerable children must be placed at the heart of plans for new global development goals, according to a high-level meeting held in New Delhi on Monday.
The meeting, convened by Butterflies, an Indian NGO, and Family for Every Child, a global network of child rights groups, called upon India to become a ‘child protection champion’ on the world stage.
Rita Panicker, founder of Butterflies and Family for Every Child’s Indian member, said, ‘The lack of protection and care for vulnerable children is a global crisis with many millions of children growing up outside of families, experiencing abuse, neglect or exploitation.’
According to her, ‘Concerted global action is now needed to raise children’s protection in the international agenda – and to monitor the impact of governments’ efforts in ensuring that children can grow up safe and protected in families.’
At the meeting, representatives of governments, UN bodies, and human rights groups called for new global targets to track states’ records in protecting vulnerable children.
India has made important strides towards introducing a wide range of services to strengthen the care of children yet the country has 11 million street children, the world’s highest number, and 28 million working children under the age of 14. In India, just 0.035 per cent of total union government expenditure is devoted to child protection.
‘As an emerging global political power, India has a critical role to play in advancing the cause of care and protection for vulnerable children,’ stressed Panicker. ‘During this seminal moment as the global community is collectively defining development priorities it is critical that ambitious goals and targets are set to protect and care for vulnerable children,’ she added.
Representing India’s Planning Commission, Shantha Sinha, chairperson, National Commission for Protection of Child Rights, said, ‘It is unfortunate that India has the largest number of children who are vulnerable and victims of violence and exploitation.’
The views of children must be incorporated into plans for these new goals, as global discussions accelerate around the replacements for the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), the global development targets that expire in 2015, observed Butterflies.
The group also released a set of report on the needs of vulnerable children, based on interviews with girls and boys aged 8-18 living on the streets, in institutions, in prison and in foster care in New Delhi, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu.