GUWAHATI, July 4 � Voluntary organisations engaged in the welfare of destitute and orphaned children have voiced concern over the difficulties faced by children living in child care homes and children in need of care and protection in the matter of inclusion of their names in the ongoing updating of the National Register of Citizens (NRC).
�The ongoing process of NRC updating has thrown up some major challenges for those in-charge of child-care institutions under the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act 2000 as well as for all those who extend their services to children in need of care and protection as defined in the above mentioned Act, to get the names of their wards included in the NRC,� Father Lucose, Director, Snehalaya said.
Father Lucose who addressed the media along with representatives from different child care organisations such as World Vision, SOS Villages of India, ICCW and 7 Sisters Home at Guwahati Press Club yesterday said that as things stood today, even if the heads of child care institutions were to submit the filled forms, the children in these institutions would not be eligible for inclusion in the NRC for lack of document.
�The responsibility for filling up the names and submitting the required personal and legacy data documents of children in orphanages and destitute homes is given to the head of the institution. It is impossible for them to submit such documents, as these children do not have their parents (as in the case of orphans and abandoned children) or have either lost contact with their parents who are now untraceable. Those few parents who are traceable are illiterate or homeless or unfit and do not possess any identifying legal documents,� Father Lucose said.
Father Lucose said that under the circumstances the children in the child care institutions such as SOS, Snehalaya, Kalyani Niwas, Shishu Kalyan Sadan, and other institutions all over Assam, and other children in need of care and protection, as defined in the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act 2000 would be deprived of their right to nationality and identity as contained in the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC).
�India is also a signatory to the legal instrument, and this has been ratified by India, and as such we are duty-bound to provide all the rights enumerated in this convention,� he added.
The NGOs expressed apprehension that unless the Government intervened immediately, the children sheltered in the orphanages, destitute homes, children�s home and shelter homes, observation homes and special homes, will be deprived of the benefits of �social reintegration� which is the ultimate objective of the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act 2000.