Covid impact: NHRC issues advisory for protection of rights of children

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New Delhi, Jun 3 (PTI) The NHRC has issued an advisory to several Union ministries, states and union territories on protection of the rights of children in view of the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on them and the anticipation of its third wave, officials said on Thursday.

In a statement, the National Human Rights Commission has also called for 'greater preparedness' by all the stakeholders in anticipation of the third wave.

'The NHRC has issued an advisory for the protection of the rights of children in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic. It has issued it keeping in view the continuing impact of the pandemic on children and the experts' apprehensions about its third wave hitting them hard,' it said.

This is the fifth advisory as part of the series of advisories that the Commission has issued in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.

The Commission, in a letter through its Secretary General Bimbadhar Pradhan to the secretaries of the Union ministries and departments concerned and chief secretaries of states and administrators of UTs, has asked for the implementation of its recommendations in the advisory and sought action taken reports within four weeks, it said.

The Union ministries and the departments, include the Ministry of Women and Child Development, Ministry of Home Affairs, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Department of School Education and Literacy, and Department of Food and Distribution, the statement said.

The report from the various authorities is expected to include the specific measures undertaken to safeguard the rights of children in view of the conditions imposed by the pandemic, officials said.

The advisory has focused on four key areas of health, education, child care institutions and children orphaned during the pandemic, the statement said.

Some of the important recommendations include strengthening of paediatric Covid hospitals and protocols. All hospitals should prominently display contact information of CHILDLINE (1098), local Child Welfare Committee (CWC), District Child Protection Unit (DCPU), local police, it said.

Ministries and departments at the Centre and state levels should also set up a page pertaining to COVID-19 on their website immediately and prominently to share all important circulars and orders related to safeguarding children's rights during the pandemic, the rights panel said.

Other recommendations include taking all necessary steps to ensure that children do not drop out of school due to the circumstances imposed by the pandemic forcing them to enter into child labour, child marriage or fall prey to mishaps such as trafficking.

Also, incase of death of both parents where family or kinship care is not available and the child is found orphaned without any support, ensure that the child is immediately produced before the CWC for immediate rehabilitation of all such children as per the law, it added. PTI KND KJ

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