Child rights commission to hold hearing for ST children

The public meeting will begin on December 1

To understand the problems faced by children from tribal communities, the Karnataka State Commission for Protection of Child Rights (KSCPCR) has decided to hold a public hearing exclusively for them. The hearing is scheduled to begin on December 1.

Fr. Antony Sebastian, chairperson of the commission, said they had been holding several public consultations with children and listening to their woes after the pandemic. “Children have been sharing very heart-wrenching stories of how they did not have access to online classes, how many were forced into child labour; some students even said that their friends were victims of child marriages during the lockdown,” he said.

Members of the commission pointed out that the problems faced by children from tribal communities as well as their magnitude would be extremely different from minors belonging to other communities.

The pandemic and subsequent lockdowns had exacerbated the situation, especially as children did not have access to online classes. Nagasimha G. Rao, director, Child Rights Trust, said according to the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC), children belonging to ethnic, religious, or linguistic minorities or persons of indigenous origin, shall not be denied the right to live with the other members of their community. They also have been conferred the right to enjoy their culture.

“All the solutions given to these children should consider their preference first. These children cannot be asked to come to cities or towns for education. Anganwadis and schools should go to places where they are located,” he said. The commission plans to address all issues ranging from education and health to poverty and socio-cultural issues, among others. The commission has decided that the hearing shall be held in Mysuru as many people belonging to these communities live in districts adjoining it. They plan to rope in officials from different departments to help address the grievances raised at the hearing.

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