November 20 Bhubaneshwar (odisha.in) The Governor of Orissa Murlidhar Chandrakant Bhandare on Tuesday called upon the nation to target the next ten years to eradicate child labour in India.
Speaking at the inaugural session of the 4th National Convention of Children, he said that children are a world of joy and they should get every opportunity to lead a joyous life.
“Equality of opportunity is an integral part of right to equality and only together can they lead to basic human rights in a society,” the Governor said adding that adults cannot ask for human rights for themselves and others if they cannot safeguard human rights of children.
Highlighting the fact that the issue is not limited to India and is widespread in across the world, Bhandare said that only total eradication of child labour can lead to a world without human rights violation.
Speaking on the occasion UNICEF Orissa state representative Shadrak Omol said, “Child labour, in itself is not a disease but a symptom of system breakdown in society.”
Pointing out that while there have been voices asking whether one should stop children from working despite starvation, Omol said that there was a need to differentiate child labour from a working child.
“We cannot allow for a situation where the work is not commensurate with the child’s age, is hazardous in nature and more importantly takes children away from school,” he clarified.
Stressing that the time for slogan is over and “it was time for practical solution to make a difference” he said that with around 1,000 children and 500 child right activists, the National Convention being organised by Campaign Against Child Labour (CACL) was the right forum to achieve it.
“Child labour should not be tackled as a welfare issue but as a persisting social problem in the context of the existing inequalities and exploitative socio-economic structure in the country and as violation of a child’s basic human rights,” CACL National Convenor Ranjan Mohanty said.
As per one estimate, the number of child labourer in the world is around 110 million of which India contributes the majority. According to National Census estimates, the number of child labourer in India has increased from 11.3 million in 1991 to 12.6 million in 2001 of which 90 per cent lives in rural areas.
According to UNICEF State of the World’s Children 2007 Report it was found that over a five year period (1999-2005) India had 16 female child workers for every 12 male child workers.
Worse, the girl child worker faces a triple jeopardy—she is a child, a labourer and a girl. While as a child she is exploited, but dependent on adult world for care, protection and fulfilment of right, she can do nothing if the adult including her parents, deny her any of all these. She is also prone to greater risk of physical and sexual abuse.
Earlier in the day, the convention was kicked off with a peace torch rally children and child right activists from across 21 states.
While the Khurda Superintendent of Police Amitav Thakur handing over the peace torch to children representatives, eminent athlete Arunadha Biswal flagged off the peace march at the Dhauli Shanti Stupa.
Speaking on the occasion, Biswal called upon the children to become more aware about their rights and say no to child labour. She also asked the participants in the peace march to take the message back home and propagate against child labour in their respective regions.
Also present on the occasion were Orissa Minister of Labour and Employment Jaya Narayan Mishra and Member of Parliament Tathagat Satpathy.