UNICEF Representative to India Mr. Cecilio Adorna, addressing a meeting held to felicitate the Multi-faith leaders as they crossed Delhi during the Yatra.
NEW Delhi, 15 November 2005 – UNICEF hailed the fortnight long multi-faith pilgrimage against female foeticide and sex selection. India’s well known crusader for human rights and social justice Swami Agnivesh lead the 2000 kilometre long campaign through five states of India.
UNICEF Representative to India Mr. Cecilio Adorna, addressing one of the campaign halts at Philaur in Punjab, said “35 million missing girls must be a major worry for the nation. It is fundamentally wrong, morally wrong, socially wrong and developmentally wrong to tolerate, stand and watch such acts of sex selection and violence against girls. We are turning off the light from our homes, our communities and our nation”, he said. “Zero tolerance for discrimination and violence against girls must be the order of the day”, he advocated.
It is fundamentally wrong, morally wrong, socially wrong and developmentally wrong to tolerate, stand and watch such acts of sex selection and violence against girls.
The pilgrimage covering 40 cities and towns traversed through five states - Gujarat, Rajasthan, Delhi, Haryana, and Punjab, known for their adversely skewed child sex ratio. Swami Agnivesh, a well-known name for spearheading social movements, received tumultuous welcome all along the route. Leaders of various political parties and religions met him. Most cities took out rallies and staged cultural programmes on the evils of female foeticide as the ‘yatra’ touched their towns.
District Collectors reported on the progress and placed before the public their action plans. Ministers, Members of Parliament and other elected representatives too expressed their solidarity. Most districts exhibited data on the prevalent sex ratio.
The pilgrimage concluded in the holy city of Amritsar on Guru Nanak Day when the Sikh community pays homage to its founder. Sikh religious leaders reiterated the community’s resolve to excommunicate those who resort to sex selection and female foeticide.
Earlier, on November 6, when the pilgrimage passed through Delhi, Ces Adorna commended the religious leaders for raising their voices against sex selection and female foeticide and appealing to society for equality and justice for the girl child.
The multi-faith pilgrimage was supported by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, the Department of Woman and Child Welfare, UNICEF and UNFPA.