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CRY for child?s rights

'Stand up for what is right? is the latest appeal from CRY, which has recently changed its name to Child Rights and You, in keeping with it?s commitment to agenda justice and equity for Indian children.

india Updated: Apr 01, 2006 11:45 IST

'Stand up for what is right’ is the latest appeal from CRY, which has recently changed its name to Child Rights and You, in keeping with it’s commitment to agenda justice and equity for Indian children.

“Why does the right to education not evoke a similar outrage as the one you hear when a murderer walks free after murdering a model?” is what Ingrid Srinath, CRY CEO, wants to know. “In any case, be it genocide, exploitation or abuse, children are the worst affected.

They can’t vote and want each of us to stand up for them. That is the logic behind the name change,” she says. CRY believes that there is a need to make the community aware of child rights and make these a key criterion for policy design and evaluation.

The relief-oriented approach by governmental and non-governmental agencies has a limited impact because causes like gender, caste, ethnicity etc. fail to be addressed in the process. There is a need to adopt a rights–based approach to the problem. “Rights give people a bargaining power,” says Jean Dreze, economist and Right to Food activist.

He points out that the Indian economy is growing at a very fast rate, but the “health indices even in poorer countries like Bangladesh, are much better than those in India”.

“The first change in the Indian mindset has to be that we treat all children as equal, irrespective of whose children they are,” says Aruna Roy, Magsaysay awardee and Right to Information activist.

Roy also feels that ultimately “there is a need for an accountable government, to the extent that even a child can ask questions like why didn’t I get my mid-day meal?” Srinath has the last word.

“We want a quantum shift in the way society sees children and believe that any alternative to child rights is ineffective, illegal and unjust.”