Guwahati: During one of the forthcoming Assembly sessions, the Assam Legislative Assembly will discuss the issue of child protection under the “Speaker’s Initiative.”
The Assam Legislative Assembly Speaker, Biswajit Daimary made the announcement on Monday while delivering his keynote address during a media awards ceremony hosted by UNICEF Assam at the Assam Legislative Assembly auditorium in support of the Children’s Rights Programme.
“A day-long discussion to deliberation on the issue of child protection will be held during an Assembly session as a part of the “Speaker’s Initiative” in the House,” Daimary said.
He further said the Assembly has released funds to the tune of Rs 1 lakh to each of the 126 legislative Assembly constituencies to be spent for awareness on children’s rights issues.
“We will work together with UNICEF Assam in future also to spread awareness regarding child trafficking, drug abuse, etc, which were flagged by National Service Scheme (NSS) volunteers during the programme today,” Daimary said, while lauding UNICEF Assam for taking such initiatives.
The speaker, Biswajit Daimary honoured nine media fellows from various Assam newspapers and television channels for successfully reporting on children’s rights issues, specifically malnutrition and violence against children, during the awards ceremony. The media fellows were felicitated for completing their three-month fellowships.
Mr. Pankaj Saikia of Pratidin Times received the Media Award for his in-depth reporting on issues of violence against children.
UNICEF India and Cotton University announced the fellowships in August, with assistance from the Assam Directorate of Information and Public Relations (DIPR).
The fellowships were designed to raise public awareness about the two issues by sending selected fellows to high-burden districts and bringing to light stories about children.
The purpose of presenting them to the Speaker was to promote policy debate in the Assembly.
Dr. Madhulika Jonathan, Chief of Field Office, UNICEF Assam, while speaking on the importance of working with legislators, media and the youth in safeguarding children’s rights congratulated the Speaker of Assam Legislative Assembly for being a torchbearer for children and women’s rights in the Assam Assembly.
“It has been a privilege to partner and work with legislators towards the achievement of Sustainable Development Goals, of which children are at the core,” Dr. Madhulika said.
“The sensitisation of MLAs has been initiated. We saw questions raised by MLAs during the last monsoon session around trafficking of children, which resulted in the chief minister promising a Domestic Labour Bill,” Jonathan said.
Dr. Sunita Changkakati, chairperson of the Assam State Commission for Protection of Child Rights (ASCPCR), spoke about the Suraksha campaign, which aims to raise public awareness and strengthen the child protection system.
“As children, many-a-times we are unaware of what to do if we become a victim of abuse. Even our parents forbid us to discuss it and sometimes blame us. But now, young people are more informed about their rights, and they can make the right decisions for themselves. With the media alongside, we can raise and highlight the issues faced by the children to hold duty bearers accountable,” Changkakati said.
Dr. Ramesh Chandra Deka, Vice-Chancellor of Cotton University, spoke on the occasion and emphasised the importance of ethical reporting on children’s issues as well as the need to mainstream the issues.
Deepak Kumar, regional director of the National Service Scheme (NSS), spoke on the occasion, highlighting the collaboration between UNICEF and the NSS in Assam on child protection.
“During the pandemic, young people were bound to use digital devices and the Internet to pursue their education, which resulted in an increase in cases of bullying and abuse. With the U-Report for Suraksha Campaign, NSS volunteers were able to understand the redressal mechanisms to address these violations,” Kumar informed.