Children put their demands before political parties

    By IANS,

    New Delhi : As the country heads for general elections in a few months, more than 300 children from 16 states, many of them from poor, Dalit or tribal families, came together Monday to urge political parties to consider their demands.

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    The children sought that their interests too were reflected in the manifestos of political parties.

    The demands ranged from good health care, education, drug de-addiction centres at government hospitals, and land for building homes for Dalit and tribal families.

    Some of the children were part of the team that in September this year went to the United Nations General Assembly in New York to speak about child rights and press for implementation of the UN’s Millennium Development Goals (MDG).

    The children will take forward their manifestos and appeal for the implementation of plans and policies for them, whether at district or national level.

    The children finalised their demands at a state residential camp organised by World Vision India, the Indian arm of an international non-governmental organisation, in partnership with 160 networks and NGOs. More than 2,000 children participated, discussing the rights of the most vulnerable and deprived among them in the country.

    Each state assembly prepared a charter of demands which they put forward at a national platform to the national level policy makers during the “National Assembly of Vulnerable Children”.

    The children sought health services in all villages, proper treatment for children living with HIV/AIDS, provision of physiotherapy centres for children with disability in every panchayat and drug de-addiction centres in all government hospitals.

    “Children have conducted their state assemblies, and at the national assembly they came to raise their voice on their dreams for this country. We want to see that the children living in vulnerable contexts are seen and heard, and their demands are acted upon, especially in the context of the national elections in the country,” said Reni Jacob, national advocacy director, World Vision India.

    “Children should be held at the centre-stage and given priority in the political agenda of the country, so that they get their rightful share,” she said.