A Call to Governments of India,Nepal,Afghanistan,Sri Lanka and Bangladesh to recognize that Every child has a Right to Family
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“…The child, for the full and harmonious development of his or her personality, should grow up in a family environment, in an atmosphere of happiness, love and understanding…” United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC)
Approximately one fourth of the world’s child population lives in South Asia. In 2003, there were an estimated 584 million children in the region comprising 40.6 % of the entire population (http://www.crin.org/BCN/details.asp?id=19828&themeID=1001&topicID=1006)
Across South Asia 12 per cent of children aged 5-14 are engaged in child labour. This amounts to a total of 44 million children, which is more than 25 per cent of all children engaged in child labour worldwide (150 million). Of these children, 29 million live in India.
An estimated 164 million children of primary school age live in South Asia. Of these, 42 million (25 per cent) do not attend school. Approximately 23 million (55 per cent) of these are girls. Globally, South Asia accounts for 35 per cent of the world’s out-of-school in children. Children in South Asia and in the world experience violence in a range of settings including at home, in schools and educational settings, in care and justice systems, in workplaces and in the communities.
Besides, an estimated 43 million girls and boys in South Asia are growing up without one or both of their parents due to the impact of poverty, disability, HIV/AIDS, armed conflict, natural disasters and migration. While some children without parental care live with their extended families in kinship care arrangements, others no longer have their families, have been separated from them, or their families represent a serious danger to their development and/or protection. For these children, States have the responsibility to provide special protection and assistance. (http://www.unicef.org/rosa/protection.html)
We believe that Every Child has the right to a Loving and Caring family!
We believe that there is a great vacuum that exists in relation to family policies, even when dealing with policies towards children . We believe that today parents are in need of much training and support and this calls for professional help from many fields. We should consider this as a collective task of creation of spirit and as an immunization campaign to create strengths to deal with and resist adversity.
Family as a unit needs to strengthen in order to help them provide the atmosphere a child requires. Family preservation efforts should aim to empower families with attitudes, skills, capacities and tools to enable them to provide adequately for the protection, care and development of their children. A family strengthening approach may include enforcement of existing laws, implementation of government programs and schemes in favor of families, parenting courses, the promotion of positive parent-child relationships, conflict resolution skills, and opportunities for income generating activities, support services, including financial assistance and care facilities for parents and children together when necessary, identification of gaps in the legislative framework for a protection of the family’s needs.
Agencies and authorities should make every effort to prevent the separation of children from their parents or primary caregivers, unless the best interests of the child so require, and ensure that their actions do not inadvertently encourage family separation by providing services and benefits to children alone rather than to families.
We want to start this petition to call governments to recognize that every child for his/her full and harmonious development of personality should grow up in a family environment, in an atmosphere of happiness, love and understanding. This presupposes the commitment of each Country, State and competent authorities to takes steps so that each child could exercise his/her rights.
We are urging upon two broad categories of rights. The first is the right of the child to a family as an essential right. The second are the rights of the family to be supported and protected by the State.
The Leaders of the countries in the South Asia Region as well as central governments and Directors of International Child Welfare Organisations should focus on:
• Full implementation of commitments under the UN convention of the Rights of the Child, including the rights to be cared for by their families, to be provided health and education services and to be heard and respected for their opinions.
• The repatriation of children from Institutions to Family and Community based services.
• Investing resources in community services that children need in order to thrive in the community, instead of spending on institutions.
• Strengthening/creating a Task force that can contribute to promoting non institutional care practices in the countries.
• Consulting with Grassroots organizations to dialogue with the Civil Society share experiences, develop solidarity and plan and implement initiatives to adopt family strengthening approaches that enable families and children to receive their due share of care and protection.
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