SRINAGAR: Chief Minister, Omar Abdullah highlighted the inalienable childhood rights of children adding that present day advancement is taking away these rights from them. He said children nowadays are forgetting to be children as compared to the old days when they had much more active childhood.
“The most important reason for this is the enormous pressure of education on children from their early age”, he said maintaining that in a State like Jammu and Kashmir law and order and security situation coupled with incidents of violence also badly tell upon the rights of children to enjoy active and joy full childhood.
Addressing the three day workshop on ‘Gender and Child Rights’, organized by Lal Bhadur Shastri National Academy in collaboration with the State Government here, Omar Abdullah also pin-pointed the menace of female foeticide and said that he is deeply concerned about this highest sin against humanity which would ruin the future of the society.
“I have flagged this issue as one of the primary issues to be dealt with seriously and firmly to save the State from the outcomes and dangers of it”, the Chief Minister said and elaborated that the civil society in close coordination with the Government have to address this menace. He said Government alone cannot eradicate it by enforcing laws against it. He said public awareness and participation of civil society is imperative in this regard. He said when he saw the alarming reports of female foeticide in Kashmir valley, he was highly surprised. “I had never dreamt that such a type of sin will be performed in a society where the protection, security and well being of girls and women are the cultural trait”, he added.
Omar Abdullah referred to the steps the State Government has taken for the growth and well being of women and children. He said the security and rights of children and women have been underlined priority areas in the State’s development policy and planning. He said law and order situations and exploitation of sentiments of children by vested interests sometimes put the administration in a challenging position. He said under all circumstances the security and rights of children and women should be protected.
The Chief Minister said police force has all the more important responsibility in this regard as it is always on forefront to deal with law and order situations. He said a well thought out procedure and mechanism needs to be adopted to ensure controlling of situations at one hand and safeguarding the rights and ensuring security of juveniles on the other. He expressed the hope that the workshop would ponder upon this issue and come up with viable expert recommendations for the Government for implementation.
Omar Abdullah said that empowering women is essentially important to give them confidence, strengthen their voice and make them economically independent. He said this is also important to ensure balanced growth of women and safeguard their rights. He said that the State Government has launched an important initiative UMEED in this regard. He said UMEED scheme implemented in some block in the State has yielded encouraging results and it is being extended to all blocks of the State.
“UMEED at one hand has given economic strength to women and on the other strengthened their voice to highlight their rights”, he said and maintained that women self help groups organised under this scheme could easily raise their voice at all forums particularly at the district and block levels to obtain their due share in the development programmes. He said UMEED has also generated remunerative economic activities for its members in the blocks it is under implementation.
While wishing success to the workshop and congratulating the organisers for holding it here, the Chief Minister expressed the hope that the sessions would be productive and result in evolving comprehensive and befitting recommendations for the Government for implementation to address the issues of Gender and Child Rights.
Joint Director LBSNAA, Ms. Ranjana Chopra presented welcome address while the Country Head of UNICEF, Tejinder Sandhu thanked the Chief Minister and the participants. Present on the occasion were Principal Secretary to Chief Minister, B. B. Vyas and former Chief Information Commissioner of India, Wajahat Habibullah.
Various officers from Jammu and Kashmir and other States are participating in the workshop-cum-training programme which will have 12 sessions in all. During these sessions various experts will deliver keynote addresses.
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