Friday, May 2, 2014

Right to participation of children in democracy

For the establishment of real democracy need to be establish from childhood through right to participation at various levels, process, policies and action related to the children by the children.

In this feudal society, head of family takes all decisions. This phenomenon is exists either in patriarchal or matriarchal family. The structure of family and society is constituted on this premise.  Although the democratic system of governance has been adopted in this country, but there is no room for participation of all persons equally. Regarding participation of children, all adults, families and above all society seem to be diffident. If we closely observe behaviors of children, we find that children fight among themselves and become united after sometime. However, this does not happen with adults. Adults make division in the society on the basis of caste, religion, class and gender and try to inject this division among children. Says Lenin Raghuvanshi.

Due to the venerable economic condition the children of Musahars, Chamar and Nats communities from the very young age are helping hand for their parents such as taking care of their siblings and helping their parents in the their work.  During that time children are exposed to torture and organized violence.

So, in this context it was decided to pilot the concept of Children Parliament against torture in four ways to ensure Right to Participation, Right to survival, Right to Development, and Right to Protection of children between age – group 10 – 18 years in 22 villages of Badagaon and Pindra blocks of Varanasi Districts. As the sustainability of the initiative “Healing and Empowering marginalized communities in India” because these 22 villages are already in the advanced stages for declaring it as torture free model village and we are planning to exit in these villages.

In the formation of the torture free villages we were working with the adults on the torture and organized violence issues and enhancing their capacities on various Act and Guidelines and breaking their silence through various activities. While working on the various issues at the grass – root level activist came across with the many cases related to the children such as child sexual abuse, discrimination and corporal punishment in the school, child marriage, bonded labour and child labour and police torture and caste based discrimination etc.

This concept will provides wider platform for the participation of children and enhancing their capacities on various law, acts and guidelines and schemes related to the children such as POCSO Act, JJ Act etc.  through perspective building workshop, theatre play and meeting and workshop for using Information Technology (IT) as the tool for prevention against torture. From time to time the activist will do monitoring.

Karna hoga ahsas har Bacha hai khas (We have to feel that all children are unique) this initiative started in 2003 through participation of children in children parliament in Baghwanala an urban slum of Varanasi. Now 10 children parliament are functioning in 22 child rights centric village with the participation of 195 children (127 female 94 male).  The name of the bal panchayat are on the name of eminent personalities and social reformer such as Munshi Prem Chandra Bal Panchayat, Savitri Bai Phule Mahila Panchayat. The perspective building of the children done through various activities i.e. Workshop, meeting and theatre play etc. The outcome of participation was children opposed the child marriage and child sexual abuse. Says Shruti Nagvanshi, Child Rights activist.

Shirin Shabana Khan is Program Director at management committee and Program Manager of PVCHR – Dignity initiative “Healing and Empowering marginalized Committee in India”