Child Labour in India

July 29, 2010

Despite all the talk of India being a nuclear power, its record economic growth rates and the space programme the country remains blighted by many problems. Here are some  images of child labour in our country:

The National Coordination Committee of CACL

July 29, 2010

The National Coordination Committee of the CACL met this week (26th-28th July). The main focus of the discussion was the Right to Education Act. It is felt that the RTE should not be dismissed, but must be engaged with critically.

 The definition of child labour must include all children under age 18 in accordance with the UN definition of child. This means that the current position of the RTE is unsatisfactory, as it only covers ages 6-14, and therefore not all children.

 It was found that Articles 21A and 24 of the constitution contradict each other. Free and compulsory education cannot be guaranteed when child labour in the non-hazardous sector is permitted. Similarly the Child Labour (prohibition and Regulation) Act 1986 must be repealed and replaced, so that all forms of child labour are included.

Moreover, the RTE provide no provisions to ensure the quality of the education provided. Free and compulsory education is worthless if it is sub-standard. 

The CACL are also calling for the Indian Government to remove the reservation on Article 32 of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child that prevents economic exploitation of children, and thereby commit themselves to total prohibition of all forms of child labour. 

The RTE has been heralded by some as a seminal Law that finally provides universal education for all Indian children. The CACL and other civil society groups strongly disagree with this and hope that the changes recommended are made.

 To read the press release: press note NCC

Members of the National Commitee of the CACL

Mathews Philip, Executive Director of SICHREM and member of the National Committee of the CACL talks to press.

Human Rights teacher training in Kerala

July 23, 2010

The inaugural function of the state level consultation on training for school teachers in Trivandrum, Kerala, was held on 15th & 16th July 2010. This aimed to help teachers understand human rights, so that they are able to take the concepts with them into the classroom.

Dr.K.C.Sunny,Head Department of Law,Kerala University speaking

from right to left Dr. vasanthi Devi, Chairperson IHRE,Dr.R.V.Pillai IAS (RTD) Mr. Gangadharan ,member Kerala State Human Rights Commission,Mr.Vinod Singh Cherian,Chairperson Bar Council, Kerala,Shri.P.Govinda Pillai,Dr.Sebastian Paul- back row Mr.Mathews Philip,Executive Director , SICHREM.

Protest concerning murder of RTI activist

July 23, 2010

Sichrem staff and volunteers attended a protest against the murder of RTI activist Amit Jethava. He was shot dead outside the Gujarati High Court on Tuesday 20th July. Amit was an environmental activist and was inestigating corruption in Gujarat. The right to information is a human right and we fight to protect those who seek greater transparency and fight corruption.

Sichrem volunteers and interns at the protest

Sichrem intern Hithyshini Bhandari hands out pamphlets regadring the murder of Amit and the RTI

Protestors show solidarity with murdered RTI activist Amit Jethava

Give support to Bhopal survivors

July 23, 2010

1000 Bhopalis will be going to Delhi on 26th of July to demand that the state (parliament in session) take notice of them. Our 26 year struggle for justice has not ended. 

 20,000 people continue to drink poisoned water, thousands of gas victims who were promised jobs remain jobless; medical treatment for victims remains elusive; the site and its surroundings are polluted, and the culprit – Dow Chemical –freely does business in India.

How you can help!

1. Support in cash or kind: 

We need your contribution towards the expenses for food, transport and protest material. You may also support us by sharing your resources like sound systems, photocopying/printing/faxing facility.

Most importantly, since we’re not allowed to camp at Jantar Mantar anymore, we are looking for large spaces for the Bhopalis to rest in–rooms, halls etc that are close to JM, have a roof to protect from the rain, and toilet facilities close by. Do let us know if you have tents or tirpaals that you can share with Bhopalis to cover them from the (lovely and wet!) monsoons.

Please send in your donations through a Cheque payable to ‘The Other Media’ and courier it to us at: Rachna Dhingra, C/o ICJB, 44 Sant Kanwar Ram Nagar
Berasia Road, Bhopal, MP 462001

2. Volunteer: 

Performers: Again, to keep the protests interesting and also keep the mood high at Dharna site, we would appreciate support from all kinds of musicians and artists who can and would like to join in solidarity at Jantar Mantar, play music, dance, sing, paint, juggle, breathe fire, etc.

Crisis Support: Act as a Guarantor in case Bhopalis are arrested and need bail.

Solidarity Actions: Do organise solidarity actions in your city during the course of our protest in Delhi. Each action by you goes a long way in inspiring us.

If you have any questions please contact: 

Shalini ( 589 24 989)

Kaveri ( 9958789298)

Desperate Dalits fight eviction from their homes

July 22, 2010

Community members of the Bhangi community in Savanur poured human excreta over themselves in a desperate attempt to make their voices finally heard. Four families of the Bhangi community have been living in huts built by Savanur Town Municipal Council (TMC) for the past 70 years. However, now the TMC have decided to evict these families and build a commercial complex in place of their houses.

The TMC have resorted to disgraceful tactics as a means of removing these families: they have cut of their water supply, dumped waste in front of their homes, barged into their houses and insulted and threatened their women. The families submitted an appeal to the Assistant Commissioner on Monday demanding temporary water connection. But they were asked to pay the TMC Rs 2,000 for each connection.

On Tuesday 20th July in a desperate attempt to draw attention to their plight three members of the community poured human excreta on themselves. The TMC Executive Officer H N Bajakkanavar, unmoved by the protest, argued that he was merely abiding by the laws when cutting off illegal pipelines. The fact that several other illegal water pipelines were untouched, as pointed out by Dalit Sangarsha Samithi activists, does not seem to have registered with the TMC.

To read the press report:

Please show your solidarity with the plight of the Bhangi community. Consider the desperation they must feel to resort to such an extreme form of protest. You can help by typing a complaint and posting it to the ST/SC Commission. Send these complaints to:  

Karnataka State Commission for Scheduled Caste

Shri.Nehru Olikar

Chairperson ,

14/3,2nd Floor,CFP Building,

Nrupathunga Road


Phone no; 22249704

Bangalore: meeting to discuss the city’s fate

July 22, 2010

We Cordially invite you for a meeting of all Ngo’s, Civil Society Organizations, Resident Welfare Associations, Student Bodies etc to discuss, deliberate, and plan for joint action on various issues affecting and destroying the city of Bangalore. Please do  send in a representative of your organization to be part of the discussion and meeting on 24th July 2010 at 4 PM at St.Joseph’s Arts & Science College.

Human Rights Education: syllabus training for teachers

July 22, 2010

On the 20th and 21st July Sichrem were involved in a syllabus training programme for human rights education teachers. The training was specific to the 3rd module of our human rights eucation programme. The programme was at Shikshakara Sadana, Bangalore.

The event also saw the release of a newsletter Spandana, by Mr.Narayanaswamy, General Secretary, Teacher’s Association and Mr.Mathews Philip, Executive Director, SICHREM during the Inaugural function. Through this newsletter we hope to share the activities that are going on with our human rights education.

Mr.Mathews Philip, Executive Director, SICHREM (left) and Mr.Narayanaswamy, General Secretary, Teacher's Association release the newletter

Margaret Sampath Human Rights Edcation coordinator, SICHREM

Department of Women and Child Development breach juvenile justice law

July 22, 2010

We would like to draw your attention to breaches of the Juvenile Justice Act 2000 by the Department of Women and Child Development (DWCD). A calendar brought out by the DWCD refers to children who were part of juvenile observation facilities as children who have committed a crime (apradha maadi). This taints the children as criminals and fails to recognise the fact that everyone makes mistakes. It is particularly cruel to refer to children as criminals. Nagasimha G Rao Associate Director of the Child’s Rights Trust, argues that the phrase wrong act (tappu) should have been used instead.

Mathews Philip, Executive Director of Sichrem, says “they cannot publish words like guilty, accused and delinquent for children.” To compound the problem the DWCD also published the picture of a child and details of the facility. This clearly breaches the anonymity that children in juvenile observation facilities should benefit from.

The calendar has a circulation of 10,000 and the DWCD has therefore managed to propagate these smears against children in juvenile observation facilities to a wide section of Karnataka.  

To read the press coverage:

Invitation to the 9th Monthly Discourse on Human Rights

July 21, 2010

Sichrem in conjunction with the Indian Social Institute are holding the 9th monthly discourse on human rights.

We are pleased to announce that the guest speaker is the eminent journalist Anto Akkara. The topic for discussion will be “Kandhamal-A graveyard of Indian Secularism”. The theme has been chosen to coincide with the upcoming 2nd anniversary of the Kandhamal massacre.  

Date: 30th July

Time: 4.00pm

Venue: “A” Hall, 2nd Floor Ambedkar Block, Indian Social Institute, #24 Benson Town, Bangalore.

The discussion should provide and invaluable insight into the tensions we have in India, between the secular constitution and the growing role of religion in politics.  We look forward to seeing you all there.