GUWAHATI, Feb 13 � There is no agony greater than the destruction of childhood of a child � a child who is compelled by a host of factors to work, live under hazardous circumstances or sexually and mentally victimized by the perverted section of the society becomes deprived of his/her childhood.
Realizing that despite numerous legal provisions being instituted to protect the childhood of a child, the ground reality is totally different, the All Assam Forum for Child Rights on Thursday decided to intervene in all emergency situations to ensure that the children are protected and taken care of.
It needs to be mentioned that in the first general body meeting of the forum held here in the capital city, several important decisions concerning the welfare of the child were taken. The meet which was attended by around 40 participants from across the State also arrived at the unanimous decision to strengthen the organizational base of the forum.
The chairperson of the forum, Father Lukose Cheruvalel informed that apart from discussing the charter of the forum, the participants chalked out the annual working plan of the forum. �We have decided to set up four regional units in upper, lower and middle Assam and in Barak Valley so that the forum can immediately reach out to children in distress,� he said adding that the forum this year would concentrate on the issue of child labour and trafficking.
Lukose said that child labour was a concerning matter as the legal provisions towards elimination of child labour were not producing the desired result.
�We would be working on elimination of child labour keeping in view two factors �the rural areas which are the source of child labour and the urban areas which are the destination of child labour. Our duty will be to sensitize people in both the rural and urban areas,� Lukose said.
The forum will also intervene in emergency situations including conflicts. Of late, the State has witnessed escalation of conflicts in several parts including the border areas. The recent violence on the Assam Meghalaya border causing displacement of Garos and Rabhas has made devastating impact on the children, many of them in a traumatic condition of mind till now. �Sexual exploitation of a child, injustice to HIV/AIDS affected children etc, would be some of our areas of intervention,� said Lukose.
The forum was floated last year with the objective to advocate for child rights realization in Assam by promoting and striving to achieve defined levels of minimum standards of services to children particularly those deprived of their rights.