Chief Justice of Gujarat High Court, Mr Justice K.S. Radhakrishnan speaking to audience at the state level workshop organized to mark the 20th Anniversary of the The Convention of the Rights of Child.
By Gurinder Gulati
AHMEDABAD, Gujarat 19 November 2009: A state level workshop under the aegis of the Gujarat High Court and the Government of Gujarat was organized on 14th November 2009 to mark the 20th anniversary of The Convention of the Rights of Child (CRC) and the Children’s Day.
Chief Justice of Gujarat High Court, Mr Justice K.S. Radhakrishnan presided over the workshop attended by senior bureaucrats, judges from the High Court and district court, representatives of civil society organizations and a large number of children from the children’s homes.
Main objective of the workshop was to take stock of the situation of children in the state, review the progress achieved in the last twenty years and focus on the emerging issues related to protection of the rights of children.
Speaking on the occasion, the Chief Justice of Gujarat High Court appealed to the judicial officers in the state to take children seriously and work for the protection of their rights.
Dr Yogendra Mathur, chief of UNICEF Gujarat apprised the audience with the situation of children in the state and the progress achieved in the last two decades. He highlighted that though the state had made significant progress in the last few decades, an immediate attention was needed to focus on issues of child malnutrition and high infant mortality.
Chief Justice Radhakrishnan stressed the need for focus on around 44 million children in the country who were living in difficult circumstances and needed care and protection from the society.
“These children may be orphans, abandoned, and children of sex workers, but they are equally talented and given a chance, they can replace all of us”. “These days, cases of exploitation of children were on the rise and if anybody comes across any such violations, a simple post card was enough to inform the High Court which would then take the matter seriously. We are here to protect the rights of children,” the chief Justice said.
Mr. Justice Jayant Patel, who has been given the responsibility to oversee the implementation of Juvenile Justice Act (JJA) said that he had issued necessary instructions to the Government to set up various committees and structures as provided under the law.
“I have visited 31 children homes in the 16 districts to assess the situation and found that by and large the infrastructure of these homes was good. However, in some cases, the buildings were in a dilapidated condition and needed immediate attention. I have brought this to the attention of the Government and asked them to take corrective measures immediately, Mr. Patel said.
Mr. Justice Mohit Shah, another High Court Judge who also spoke on the occasion stressed on the need for providing every child with the opportunity to develop to his or her potential.
Three booklets - “The Right to Education Act:”, “The Child Labour Prohibition and Regulation Act”, and CRC developed in local language with UNICEF support, were also released by the Chief Justice of Gujarat High Court.
An interaction was also organized with the children living in the homes, who expressed satisfaction over the facilities being provided in these institutions for their stay as well as studies.
Street plays by children from rural areas were also enacted on this occasion to remind the society about every child’s right to education and elimination of child labour.
A film titled” Lost Childhood”, produced by ILO was also telecast all over the state via Government owned satellite communication channel, “e-Gram” to sensitize the community and officials on child rights.
The state level workshop on 20th anniversary of CRC provided the right platform to sensitize the Government machinery and the judiciary about the situation of children in the State and the action needed to protect the children. This will go a long way in building conducive environment about the rights of children. Similar workshops are being organized in all the 25 districts and 226 blocks of the state.