CRY - Child Rights Charter sign now

Charter on the Rights of the Child
CRY- Child Rights and You

Close to three decades of experience have shown CRY that providing relief is a short-term exercise and that sustainable change can be brought about only by addressing the structural and systemic root causes of poverty and social exclusion. CRY - Child Rights and You seeks your support to raise public awareness on the state of children in India and to demand the following non-negotiables from the government:

Child Rights Charter

. Ensure a universal definition of "child" to include all persons under
the age of 18.

. Increase government expenditure on children. Specifically increase
expenditure on education to 10\% and health to 5\% of GDP.

. All children age 6-18 years, without discrimination, should be in formal,
full-time schools that provide quality education. All children
below 6 years should be in anganwadis. The government should ensure
that all children complete schooling.

. Complete prohibition on all forms of child labour across sectors
including agriculture.

. Revision of the National Policy for Children (1974) to make it more
comprehensive and in line with the Constitution and the United Nations
Convention of Child Rights.

. Redraft the Free and Compulsory Education Bill to remove sanctions on
parents. Concerned governments to face penalty for failure to provide
free, compulsory education to all.

. Formulate and implement a comprehensive rights-based policy on food
security for all with extensive legal safeguards, in order that no
child goes to bed hungry and no child is born underweight and stay
undernourished.

. Coverage of the Public Distribution System is expanded to include all
poor and socially excluded families.

. Immediate provision of nutritious mid-day meals in all primary schools
and extension of this scheme to include out-of-school children. Make
available Integrated Child Development Services to all children under the
age of six years, as per the Supreme Court order of November 2001.

India's children...

...are not doing well. They do not have access to quality health care or education, and as for girls even their right to survival is under threat. CRY is concerned that the national mission of expanding opportunities for children through State action, appears to have been de-prioritised. Promoting and protecting human rights of children is a government obligation, taken on when the Constitution was adopted and reiterated to the international community, when it signed the International Convention on the Rights of the Child.

However, over the past decade and more, there is an increased emphasis on market-oriented responses to dealing with children's issues and a dilution in the role of the Indian State as the principal guardian of the children.

Children form 40\% of our country's population, and yet they are treated as non entities - their being is rarely acknowledged. This is even more so politically - as they do not have a say in determining who forms government or frames policies on their behalf. And hence their concerns are invisible rarely understood in their totality.

. 40\% of India's population is below the age of 18 years which at 400
million is the world's largest child population.
. At 17 million, India is home to world's largest population of child
labourers (this is the official figure, activists claim the actual number
is closer to four fold).
. Less than half of India's children between the age 6 and 14 go to school.
. One in every ten children is disabled in India.
. Only 38\% of India's children below the age of 2 years are immunized.
. Almost one in every five children in India below the age of 14 suffers
from diarrhea, an easily preventable disease.

CRY believes...

...Child rights can only become central to a country's agenda if its people choose to make it priority by demanding government accountability to actualise the rights of children.

In this context, CRY as an advocate of children's rights at various levels, began analysis of root causes of the situation of income poor and socially marginalised children, in the 18 states where we operate through partners. A key outcome of the root cause analysis is that there are a range of laws and policies that impact children's present and future. We have learnt that land consolidation for mega infrastructure projects; policy changes that dilute adult worker benefits; anti-terrorism laws that are misused in the field all impact children's lives today and importantly, their ability to access opportunities for a better tomorrow. This challenges conventional wisdom that only those policies and laws targeted for children need to be reviewed to understand impact on the lives of children.


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