August 26, 2010

South India Cell for Human Rights Education and Monitoring (SICHREM) and the Indian Social Institute (ISI) invite you for the Tenth Monthly Human Rights Discourse


Ms Kathyani Chamaraj

Freelance Journalist, Child Rights Defender & Executive Trustee, Citizens Voluntary Initiative for the City (CIVIC)


Eradication of Child Labour in Karnataka- How many Action plans will it take?”

Date and Time: 27th August 2010 (friday) at 4:00 pm.

Venue: Volken Auditorium, 2nd floor, Indian Social Institute, # 24 Benson Town, Bangalore-46.

No More Kandhamal!

August 26, 2010

August 25th, Bangalore.

People’s Solidarity Concerns, St Joseph’s College and various other civil society organizations took out a protest on the eve of the Second Anniversary of the worst genocide attempts on Christians that rocked the District of Kandhamal, Orissa. Placards, Banners and posters adorned Town hall, expressing their dissent against the genocide. The protest saw a large crowd using their vocal abilities to the maximum in shouting slogans that echoed the Value of ” Secularism”.  They sang in union for the Equality of all religions, against all forms of Communal Violence and for peaceful coexistence.

The protest which started at 5 pm concluded by 7 pm.

Abuse damaging to a child’s psyche

August 24, 2010

The human rights position on corporal punishment is that it is torture. Just like adults, children too cannot stand pain being inflicted on them. All personality problems are related at some level to childhood trauma. The negative impact remains in the sub-conscious and leads to some consequence or the other in later life.

Teachers in schools resort to not just physical abuse but verbal abuse as well which is often more damaging to a child’s psyche. Calling children names, asking them to stand outside class in full public view or humiliating them during morning school gatherings is extremely harsh on them and could lead them to develop an inferiority complex.

A ban on corporal punishment does exist but is almost never implemented. With the Right to Education Act prohibiting the practice, it is also now illegal. The penalty for this kind of punishment will become clear after the state government frames the rules under the Act. In fact, corporal punishment must be categorised under assault in the Indian Penal Code to help parents and the education department take rightful action.

But the fear of the law alone cannot change the attitude to corporal punishment. It can only be a deterrent. The attitude to disciplining a child needs to change. Teachers and parents must refrain from resorting to harsh ways and instead adopt more positive ways to achieve their objective. Greater awareness and sensitisation are called for to deal with the problem.

(Mathews Philip is Executive director, SICHREM, an organisation that imparts human rights education
in schools).

P.S Article extracted from Deccan Chronicle, August 22nd, 2010.

Honorarium for officers?

August 17, 2010


Bangalore: Can officials of the Government be paid honorarium for drafting a policy for the government? It seems so if the process involved in the drafting of the action plan is anything to go by.

A Right to Information application filed by the South India Cell for Human Rights Education and Monitoring (SICHREM) shows that four high-ranking officers were paid honorarium “as per the provisions of the action programme” which is “subject to the approval of the State Government”.

The RTI reply shows while the Labour Commissioner was to be paid Rs. 30,000, three other officers — State Project Co-ordinator of Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan, Director of the Department of Women and Child Development and State project director of NREGA — are to get Rs. 10,000 each.

State plan on child labour belies promise of RTE’

August 17, 2010


Bangalore: Karnataka’s latest draft action plan on child labour sets 2017 as the deadline to eliminate child labour in hazardous sectors, and 2020 for its complete abolition.

On the other hand, the Right to Free and Compulsory Education Act, 2010, makes access to education a fundamental right from April 1 and places the obligation of enrolment of every child in school on the Government.

Several child rights activists see a contradiction in the intent of the State’s action plan that has given itself a generous deadline and the Central Act that promises immediate action.

They argue that the Karnataka Government cannot claim time till the end of the decade to eliminate child labour since denial of access to education amounts to violation of a fundamental right in the light of the RTE.

Campaign Against Child Labour (CACL), Karnataka, an umbrella organisation consisting of about 650 organisation throughout the State, has decided to reject the new action plan on the ground that it undermines the promise of RTE. “We are demanding a convergence between the State’s plan and the Central Act,” said Nagasimha, convenor of CACL.

This action plan’s time-frame to achieve universalisation of education, CACL says, is particularly unjustifiable since the earlier action plan of the State — Karnataka State Plan of Action for Children — had set itself the goal of providing “eight years of schooling to every child in the State” by 2010. The present plan is the third such since 2001. While the first plan drafted when S.M. Krishna was Chief Minister promised elimination of child labour by 2007, the second said that child labour would be abolished in 2010.

“It is ridiculous to keep on postponing implementation simply by drafting one action plan after another,” said Mathews Philip, convenor of the advocacy wing of CACL. Members of CACL feel that there is a need to do a review of how much of the earlier plans have been implemented before drafting a third.

The draft copy of the State’s action plan — Draft Action Plan for the Elimination of Child Labour in Karnataka (2010-2017) — is available on the website of the Child Resource Centre on Child Labour, which is a part of the Labour Department, at The department has invited objections to the draft plan.

Child panel members issued notices

August 14, 2010

Bengaluru, Aug. 13: The department of women and child development has issued show cause notices to three members of the Karnataka Commission for the Protection of Child Rights for not having quit their previous jobs while continuing to hold their positions on it. The notices have provoked indignation as the department is itself guilty of violating the norms on the salaries that the members of the commission are entitled to. While the law specifies that they should be paid a salary equivalent to that of a secretary to the government of India, besides dearness, compensatory and travelling allowances equivalent to officers of the Union government, they are having to make do with only Rs 500 a sitting.

Section 6 of the National Commission for the Protection of Child Rights Act says the salary and allowances of the chairperson or member should not be less than what they drew in their previous positions and section 7 of the Act specifies that the chairperson should be paid a salary equivalent to that of the Cabinet Secretary to the government of India . But sadly not only are the members badly paid, but the chairperson too currently draws a small salary of Rs 3500.

“Two of the members who have been issued notice have not received their salary since June last year. A couple of them who have been issued notice did not even apply to be on the commission. They were appointed by the government because of their expertise in the field,” say commission sources.

But the department has in its notice quoted section 7(2)(b) of the National Commisison for the Protection of Child Rights Act to say that any member who is in paid employment elsewhere during his term in office can be removed from the commission and has given the members in question a fortnight to reply. If they dont respond within the time specified their positions will be automatically nullified.


Justice Denied: Sad Tale of our Rusty Judiciary!

August 9, 2010

P.S In the above article, Mr Parkash Kariyappa is being referred to as a member of the State Human Rights Commission which is incorrect. He is not a member of the KSHRC. Mr Prakash is the Fact Finding Coordinator in SICHREM.

Bethany High School, where are your values??

August 3, 2010

The so called elite schools such has Bethany High School has planted seeds of Discrimination,championed the cause of inequality and disgraced the value of education by sending a circular to parents of their students to oppose the Right to Education Act, which makes it compulsory for all schools to reserve 25% of their seats for children from poor socio-economic backgrounds.

why are elite schools such as Bethany High  opposing  such a noble idea? The reasons given in the circular sent by are the school are astounding to say the least. According to them, poor children will “spoil” the environment of the School, they would influence the other rich kids to smoke! They allegedly use Foul language etc A school perpetuating discrimination cannot be expected to provide children their right to life, protection, development and participation. Money motivated educational institutes cannot be expected to deliver on a holistic qualitative education .

On Monday, August 2nd, students, teachers and  members of the Campaign against Child Labor, Karnataka (CACL-K), Association for Promoting Social Action (APSA) and South India Cell for Human Rights Education and Monitoring (SICHREM) raised slogans against such educational institutions that instill such biases. While children shouted slogans, students from nearby schools joined them. Ashok Mathews Philip, Executive Director, SICHREM said ” Anyone has the right to oppose a law. However, discriminatory statements like the ones in that circular are just unreasonable, atrocious.”

SICHREM has been recommending that a monitoring agency look into the implementation of the Right to Education Act, since there is a good chance of its subversion. they have already written to the Karnataka State Commission for the Protection of Child Rights(KSCPCR) and the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR).

P Lakshapathy, Executive Director, APSA, said, “Schools need to be role models. What kind of precedent is the school setting?

Integrated Child Development Scheme: Review under way

August 2, 2010

August 2, 2010

The controversial Integrated Child Development Scheme(ICDS) is in the headlines again after the Department of Women and Child Development is taking a review to detect if there are any loopholes in the implementation of the Infant feeding progaramme.The Minister for Women and Child Development, P.M Narendra Swamy said that there will be two reviews undertaken. Firstly to analyze the present systems functioning in the state and secondly three delegations will visit Kerala, Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu to compare the food supply systems there.  The Minister will head one of the study teams visiting the neighboring states, and the other two will be headed by the Director and the Secretary of the Department.

The ICDS programme in Karnataka has stirred much controversy owing to complaints voiced out from various segments of the society. Karnataka’s anganwadi centers receive packed food as opposed to freshly cooked food provided by the other southern states.

A case against the implementation of the scheme is pending before the Lokayukta, filed by “Mr Mathews Philip, Executive Director, South India Cell for Human Rights Education and Monitoring.”

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