Discussion on child protection in Assam Assembly soon, says Speaker
Assam Legislative Assembly Speaker Biswajit Daimary speaks at the Media Awards ceremony held in support of Children's Rights Programme organized by UNICEF Assam in Guwahati on Monday.

Guwahati: The Assam Legislative Assembly will discuss the issue of child protection under the “Speaker’s Initiative” during one of the forthcoming Assembly sessions.

This was announced by Assam Legislative Assembly Speaker Biswajit Daimary on Monday while delivering his keynote address during a media awards ceremony held in support of Children’s Rights Programme organised by UNICEF Assam at the Assam Legislative Assembly auditorium here.

“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.

During the awards function, the Assembly Speaker honoured nine media fellows from different newspapers and television channels in Assam for successfully reporting on children’s rights issues, including the key problems of malnutrition and violence against children. The media fellows were felicitated for completing their three-month-long fellowships.

The fellowships were announced in August by UNICEF India and Cotton University with support from the Directorate of Information and Public Relations (DIPR), Assam. 

The fellowships were aimed at creating public awareness around the two issues, wherein selected fellows travelled to high burden districts and brought to the fore stories related to children.

The objective of presenting them to the Speaker was to encourage a policy discourse in the Assembly. 

Chief of Field Office, UNICEF Assam, Dr. Madhulika Jonathan, 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,” she said, in her opening remarks.

“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.

In her address, Assam State Commission for Protection of Child Rights (ASCPCR) chairperson, Dr. Sunita Changkakati highlighted the efforts undertaken under the Suraksha campaign for increasing public awareness and system strengthening on child protection issues.

“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.

Vice-Chancellor of Cotton University, Dr. Ramesh Chandra Deka, speaking on the occasion, highlighted the significance of ethical reporting on children’s issues and the need to mainstream the issues.

Speaking on the occasion, regional director of National Service Scheme (NSS), Deepak Kumar highlighted the engagement between UNICEF and 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.  

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