ITANAGAR, Sep 27: Health & Family Welfare Minister Alo Libang stressed the need for spreading more awareness regarding children’s rights as a measure to protect them against any kind of abuse.
The minister was speaking at a state level workshop on the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act, 2012, the Child Labour (Prohibition and Regulation) Amendment Act, 2016, etc, organised by the Arunachal Pradesh State Commission for Protection of Child Rights at Banquet Hall here on Thursday.
“The onus of ensuring the safety and protection of children lies on the parents and the society as a whole. We need to create proper awareness about child rights and abuse to ensure the safety of our children,” Libang said.
The minister assured to take up with the state government the matter of creating an independent state commission for protection of child rights.
National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) member Yashwant Jain explained child rights, issues and role of the NCPCR/SCPCR, and the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2015.
Explaining the role and function of the children welfare committees (CWC), Jain said that, as per the provisions of the Juvenile Justice Act, 2000 (amended in 2006), all state governments are required to establish a CWC in every district.
“The CWC is a legal body and has the same powers as a metropolitan magistrate or a judicial magistrate first class, which is empowered by the act to monitor all issues concerning children,” he said.
Stressing the need for establishing a proper CWC in the state, Jain also said all the children’s homes in the state should be properly registered.
Speaking about the POCSO Act and related issues, Additional Advocate General of Arunachal Pradesh in the Supreme Court, Ravindra A Lokhande, informed that the Centre as well as the state government has prescribed the death penalty for those convicted of raping a child below 12 years of age.
“India is the fifth country in the world with the highest number of sexual offence cases, and it has become necessary to ensure creation of more awareness to check such rising crimes against children,” said Lokhande.
He appealed to parents and teachers to ensure mandatory reporting of any case of sexual harassment or assault to the proper authorities within 24 hours.
Lokhande also urged them to teach children about good touch and bad touch for their awareness and safety.
Advocate and human rights activist Sunil Mow spoke on the Child Labour (Prohibition and Regulation Amendment Act and its provisions. He informed that, as per the new amendment to the act, no one can employ any children below 4 years of age in any work.
Mow said that fine ranging from Rs 20,000 to 50,000 and a sentence of six months (which may be extended upto two years) would be imposed on those engaging children in work.
Impulse NGO Network director Rosanna Lyndoh spoke on migrant children and adoption of children.
Earlier, on Wednesday, Jain along with Lokhande and NCPCR Northeast cell consultant Sudip Chakraborty inspected the specialized adoption agency and the children’s home run by the Oju Welfare Association (OWA), Naharlagun.
The team also inspected the Swadhar Greh, Women Helpline-181, the legal aid clinic, and the vocational training centre being run in the premises of the OWA and the Missionaries of Charity institute.