Tuesday, November 29, 2011
Wednesday, October 12, 2011
Please refer to End note: 68, Page number: 132("The State of Human Rights in India in 2010": AHRC report). It goes like the following: "Starvation deaths of children in Uttar Pradesh were a campaign issue for Mayawati during the state assembly elections and at the same time for some NGOs in Uttar Pradesh. Mayawati won the election and like any other politician soon forgot it. Then came Mr. Rahul Gandhi who opposed Mayawati during the Parliamentary elections. With the help of a local NGO, which the NGO plentifully and happily provided for cheap publicity, Rahul Gandhi made use of a couple of cases reported by the AHRC as a political campaign tool against Mayawati. After the elections, the Congress that Rahul Gandhi leads forgot that children continue to die in Uttar Pradesh. So did the local NGO. This NGO is now interested in providing psychological help to victims of torture to recover from trauma, since the funding money is in it. Project driven and short sighted human rights activism, undertaken merely for fame and/or sheer survival or employment is a curse of India's Human Rights movement."[i]
The above mentioned end note is manipulation of facts, interpreted according to individual perception to malign myself, my organization and the NGOs of this country sitting in a foreign country, far away from the scene of action. It is an attempt to undermine the credibility of the organizations and the activists but also to derail the struggle for human rights of the dalits, tribals and others marginalized sections of the society.
Let me rebut your findings in the following way;
AHRC: Starvation deaths of children in Uttar Pradesh were a campaign issue for Mayawati during the state assembly elections
PVCHR: Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) led by Ms. Mayawati Bahan ji, who is presently the Chief Minister of the state did not published any manifesto during assembly election in 2007. The party under her leadership fought on the single issue to establish rule of law in the state. The issue of starvation death was nowhere in her agenda. In fact, the party never released its election manifesto in 2007.
Immediately after the election PVCHR and AHRC issued hunger alert on starvation of dalit boy Mukesh http://www.humanrights.asia/news/hunger-alerts/HA-014-2007. It followed by another hunger alert on starvation and malnutrition of Musahar (Rat eaters) dalit boy Jigar was released http://www.humanrights.asia/news/hunger-alerts/HA-015-2007.
AHRC: …."and at the same time for some NGOs in Uttar Pradesh.
PVCHR: Since 2000, and not since 2007, our organization has been fighting against hunger, malnutrition, starvation and raising the issue of weavers and mushars. In 2003, PVCHR filed the case against hunger death of 18 children in Raup village of Sonbhadra district, Uttar Pradesh. Shockingly, AHRC published this case in its website in the name of other NGO without mentioning PVCHR's intervention. We in PVCHR decided not to protest at all. To mark the struggle against hunger, we built a monument in the same village, which was inaugurated by none other than Mr. Basil Fernando, Executive Director, AHRC and child poet Tumul.
Please read an article written on the struggle against hunger in Uttar Pradesh. http://sapf.blogspot.com/2005/10/breif-history-of-struggle-against.html).
AHRC: "then came Mr. Rahul Gandhi who opposed Mayawati during the Parliamentary elections. With the help of a local NGO, which the NGO plentifully and happily provided for cheap publicity, Rahul Gandhi made use of a couple of cases reported by the AHRC as a political campaign tool against Mayawati. After the elections, the Congress that Rahul Gandhi leads forgot that children continue to die in Uttar Pradesh. So did the local NGO."
Assembly election to the State Assembly was held in 2007 and the election to the Lok Sabha was held in 2009.
In 2007, when AHRC issued hunger alert on the case of a malnourished dalit boy Mukesh based on information from PVCHR, NDTV had already highlighted the case. The office of Mr. Rahul Gandhi inquired about the case over mobile phone. This happened primarily because during that election, PVCHR was running awareness campaign for voter about the criminal background of the candidates on the information provided in their affidavit. This initiative of PVCHR was happening under the guidance of UP Election Watch and Association for Democratic Right (ADR). The UP Election Watch office was running from the office of PVCHR. I had also received calls from other very important political leaders, media persons and International NGOs. All these were shared with the team members.
In fact, when Mr. Gandhi took steps to provide medical support to Mukesh, one of our activists passed it on to NDTV. Seeing this Mr. Gandhis' office called me and asked to ensure that no propaganda is made out of this help.
On this Mr. Bijo Francis, AHRC wrote an article in his publication "Ethics in Action". http://www.ethicsinaction.asia/archive/2008-ethics-in-action/vol.-2-no.-1-february-2008/can-human-rights-work-bring-change-the-story-of)
At the sametime, following AHRC Hunger alert on Jigar Mushar, Anei village, Varanasi District, Ms. Mayawati Bahan Ji, Chief Minister, Uttar Pradesh sent the Special Secretary, Revenue Dept to the Anei village. Seeing such a high level official the Mushars demand land from the state government. This angered the state administration and the Chief Minister herself addressed the press against anti – hunger initiative of PVCHR. Soon after, i.e., on 9th December, 2007, Mr. Rajendra Tiwari, a local criminal with huge political clout, lodged an FIR under 505 (B) IPC against five activists of PVCHR. The administration was prompt enough to file the charge sheet. But fortunately Honb'le High Court awarded stay on arrest and then stays on court proceeding of the case.
AHRC released urgent appeal and its update. Please refer to http://www.humanrights.asia/news/urgent-appeals/UP-163-2007/?searchterm=PVCHR and http://sshirinkhan.blogspot.com/2010/01/update-india-human-rights-organisation_11.html
At this point, AHRC preferred to go silent on this case and withdrew from all communications with PVCHR. However, considering the degree of threat from the state, with support from many other national and International we stood to the ground. This was recognized by the Irish organization Frontline and the European Union. The former provided financial support for fighting the case. While the later has highlighted the issues of human rights defenders at risk all over.
Today, the same Anei village is known as "child centric model village". The state distributed land to the Mushars. The pre-primary school run by PVCHR has been upgraded to Primary School, which is now taken over by the state. The Mushars became the barefoot worker of PVCHR and fighting for the rights of Mushars of other villages.
AHRC: "This NGO is now interested in providing psychological help to victims of torture to recover from trauma, since the funding money is in it. Project driven and short sighted human rights activism, undertaken merely for fame and/or sheer survival or employment is a curse of India's Human Rights movement".
PVCHR: Since its establishment, in 1996, PVCHR is fighting against caste atrocities and torture. Between 2006-08, PVCHR was state partner of EU-FNF-PWTN initiated "National Project for Prevention of Torture" implemented in 47 districts across 9 states. In UP, the project covered 7 districts.
The collaboration with RCT is extension of EU project to provide psycho - legal support through testimonial therapy (TT). Is it wrong to work with the victim of torture? I think, AHRC also works on this subject with the RCT. Do you do it for the getting justice for the victims or for money and fame? Based on the outcome of TT, more than 50 organisations have come together to form National Alliance on Testimonial Therapy (NATT) for its promotion to strengthen rule of law in India.
On June 26, 2011 on the occasion of International Day against Torture the PVCHR and a network of over 70 organisations from 6 states organised a Regional Convention at Lucknow. More than 1200 victims and survivors of torture belonging to dalit and minorities joined the convention, which was also attended by the Chairperson, National Commission for scheduled caste and the focal point for the Human Rights defenders from National Human Rights Commission. In the convention Dynamic Action Group (DAG), Voice of People (VoP), National Alliance on Testimonial Therapy (NATT) and Right to Food and Work, Uttar Pradesh, Detention Watch played significant role. In which the issue of the food security came as main important issue in declaration. Please see the link: http://www.testimonialtherapy.org/2011/06/lucknow-declaration.html
PVCHR has been filling Public Interest litigations in Honorable High Court, Allahabad and National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) in the case of hunger of weavers and suicide of farmer in Bundelkhand.
In 2010-11 an anti – malnutrition campaign, called Voice of people (VOP) was launched in 17 districts of Uttar Pradesh and PVCHR launched in 200 Villages of Varanasi, Sonbhadra and Ambedkar Nager districts. Executive Director of PVCHR as a member of executive council of VOP brought the issue of Malnutrition in agenda of VOP. Dr Lenin Raghuvanshi is presently the campaign coordinator of VOP.
PVCHR without any financial support filed hundreds of petitions against human rights violation from various states of India. Please see www.petition-nhrc.blogspot.com and in the two years hundreds of bonded labour were rescued and did intervention in many cases of malnutrition.
You can have an understanding of our legitimate claims of our work of 2010-11 against hunger, malnutrition and starvation in the following links.
Wednesday, October 05, 2011
Monday, September 19, 2011
Sunday, August 21, 2011
Tuesday, August 16, 2011
Friday, August 05, 2011
Evidence points to large scale presence of an avertable emergency:
- 96% of the families with malnourished children do not earn basic minimum wages in UP
- 15,000 children have died between years 2006-09 in MP
- AWCs considered 'useless' by residents in Delhi
April 28, 2011, New Delhi: Shabnam, 25, and Mohammad Afzal, 30, have been living in Kali Mata Basti in New Delhi for the past six years with their two children, four-and-a-half-year-old Ruksar and one-year-old Mohammad Gisan. Both children are severely malnourished - Ruksar weighs 11kgs while her brother Mohammad weighs in at 7kgs. Mohammad Afzal, a labourer, earns Rs 2,500 a month, and money is scarce for this family of four. Shabnam is therefore forced to take her children to the local PHC, where the care and treatment leaves much to be desired. On one occasion she was asked to show the doctors and health workers her children from 'a little distance'. "When I take my children to the PHC, they don't check them properly nor do they prescribe any medication," she says.
In Uttar Pradesh's Azamgarh district, Saifuddin, a field worker with CRY partner ROSA, bribed a nurse in the District Hospital with Rs 30 to admit Suraj, who was suffering from severe malnourishment. His twin sister Guddu had recently succumbed to malnourishment, and it was critical to get Suraj admitted. Unfortunately, the child passed away within the week, as the medicines prescribed by the doctor were not available in the hospital. The hospital staff also demanded Rs 800 for a blood transfusion, which Suraj's father could not afford. In the Bibipur Gram Panchayat, Tarwa development area, 88 of the 545 children are severely malnourished, and 32 have died. These deaths could have been easily circumvented with the presence of a working anganwadi, a health centre and regular food grains from the PDS shops.
Dheeraj Kumar is one-year-and-seven months old, but weighs just 4 kgs. His mother, Sangeeta Rajak irons clothes for a living, while his father, Ramdas works as a labourer. They belong to the SC class, and both parents have to work hard to make ends meet for themselves and their three children. Despite his deteriorating health condition, Dheeraj could not be admitted in the PHC, as according to norms, only the mother is allowed to stay with the child. Sangeeta bears the responsibility of two other children at home, as well as that of putting bread on their plates.
Pappu Lal has a bulging stomach, feeble limbs, is extremely thin, keeps to himself and usually stays unnaturally quiet for periods of time-displaying both, physical and psychological signs of severe malnourishment. He is two-and-a-half years old, and lives with his parents Satyanarayan and Sayaru Devi, in Dhani, Rajmahal village, in Rajasthan's Tonk district. His father has spent a whopping Rs 10,000 - an amount he can ill afford - on Pappu's treatment in a hospital in Devli for over a year. He was forced to do this as Dhani does not have an anganwadi centre, and therefore does not have the adequate caregivers who are trained to identify and treat malnourishment.
Evidence collected by Child Rights and You-CRY and its partners points to large-scale occurrence of preventable malnourishment in India, says CRY. As a press conference in Delhi today, cases from Delhi, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, and Rajasthan provided factual reports on the large gaps in government's programmes such as the Integrated Child Development Scheme (ICDS).
More than 40% of children in India are underweight1, 45% are stunted. In all, 49% of the world's malnourished children live in India2. Children between 0-6 years constitute 13.12 per cent of India's total population. In 2008, the country's infant mortality rate was noted at 53 per 1000 live births3. The most damaging effects of under-nutrition occur during pregnancy and the first two years of a child's life. These damages are irreversible, and is a leading factor behind India's high infant mortality and morbidity rates
"With timely investment in terms of resources, staff and planning, these child deaths and diseases are entirely preventable," says Yogita Verma Saighal, Director, CRY. The significance of the ICDS services is evident, yet only 33% children in India have access to it4.
Uttar Pradesh (UP) has a child population of 29,278,2355, with 85% children suffering from anemia, 41.6% are underweight6, and infant mortality rate (IMR) is amongst the highest in India (677). While the CRY and Voice of People (VoP) conducted survey of 2,8418 children in 8 districts in UP in 2010-11 states that 54% children surveyed are malnourished, of which 70% belong to the schedule caste (SC) while 18% belonged to other caste category (Pasi, Mushahar, Badi etc.) with other backward caste (OBC) as second highest. "Not only are they financially crippled but lack access to essential services like portable water, electricity, toilets, health services, schools, security, and sanitation. According to the survey 96% of the families with malnourished children do not earn basic minimum wages9," says Verma. Presently only 70%10 of anganwadi centres (AWC) are in place in comparison to the required strength. While only 50% children get any service under the ICDS11.
Madhya Pradesh (MP) has the highest prevalence of malnourishment among children12. According to the Census 2011, MP's population and the IMR is 72 out of 1,000 children born. Madhya Pradesh (MP) has a child population of 10,548,295 (Census, 2011). The share of children in the age group of 0-6 is 14.53 per cent, a decline of 3.34 per cent from 2001 Census.
Despite this, only 186 Nutrition Rehabilitation Centers (NRCs) are operational in MP, a highly insufficient number. "Although the National Nutrition Mission is high on the MP government agenda this year, with an allocation of Rs 90 crore, but the total budget for children has seen a decline from 21.7% to 17.56% in the context of child health13," says Verma. CRY fellows Javed and Upasana found 49% children malnourished and 20% severely malnourished in a random sample survey of 255 children in 11 settlements14 of Bhopal. There is shortfall of 47% anganwadi centres under the ICDS in MP. In the case of Bhopal as well, only 3 settlements (Shyam Nagar, Rajiv Nagar and Balvir Nagar) had operational AWCs, while Rahul Nagar and Gautam Nagar had either no anganwadi or one situated at a distance of 1km. While CRY partner Vikas Samvad Samiti reports15 that 83% children in 8 villages of Rewa district are malnourished. The alarming fact is that severely malnourished children are turned away from NRCs and advised to wait for their turn as since the inception of the NRC in the Community Health Centre in Jawa, it has had a capacity to accommodate only 10 children (10 beds). In Rewa district, 15,000 children have died between years 2006-09.
Delhi is considered the melting pot for people migrating to the city for better opportunities. The capital's migrant population comprises of almost 20% of the total, and 64% live in resettlements and slums. In Delhi 66% children (under age 6) living in slums are malnourished16.
According to a baseline survey conducted by CRY partner Alliance for People's Rights (APR) in the 7 districts of Delhi that CRY has presence in, there are approximately 7,500 children between ages 0-6. According to NFHS-3, 30% children are born under-weight, 63% anemic and there is a glaring gap in the under five mortality between the urban poor (73. 6 per 1000 births) and the urban rich (41.8 per 1000 births). The AWCs in these project area communities are considered 'useless' by residents as internal problems plague the centers, including low wages, a lack of infrastructure, unavailability of space for children to play and educational facilities are also missing. "For informal sector workers who have irregular incomes at level that fall below minimum wages, a working Anganwadi can be a lifesaver," says Verma. "The large pockets of poverty that India's Capital houses needs its entitlements, the same as everyone else."
CRY recommends that the government considers this compelling evidence from the ground in designing a robust, holistic food security Act. Schemes such as the ICDS, which, incidentally, is among the world's largest child development schemes, must be universalised and a transparent system instituted to fix accountability. The same goes for employment guarantee schemes, increased investment and political will is needed to stop the continuous slide into poverty and destitution that a large number of agriculture and other informal sector workers are facing in India today. The Public Distribution system too must be universalized and take care of both food grain needs as well as other nutrition needs.
India has made a commitment to reducing under-5 mortality by two-thirds by 2015 (MDGs). While the National Rural Health Mission (NRHM) has made some headway in tackling child mortality in rural areas, the need for a similar programme such as the National Urban Health Mission (now shelved) for the urban poor is immediate.
- Yogita Verma: Director, CRY
- R.B. Pal: CRY fellow and a founding member of Voice of People (UP Alliance), which is spread out in 58 blocks and 18 districts.
- Shruti Nagvanshi: founder member of CRY partner, People's Vigilance Committee on Human Rights (PVCHR) in UP. Earlier, she has held the position of District General Secretary of the Bachpan Bachao Andolan.
- Ram Kumar: President of CRY project Ahesas, and member of Alliance for People's Rights. He has worked at the grassroot level for 15 years, working on issues such as Child Rights, Female feticide, Women empowerment, Child sexual abuse, etc.
- Prashant Dubey: is associated with CRY partner Vikas Samvad in MP and has been working on right to food campaign since 2002. He is also a freelance journalist and has won the National RTI Award in 2009.
Note to the Editor:
CRY - Child Rights and You earlier known as Child Relief and You - is India's leading advocate for child rights. Over 30 years CRY has partnered with NGOs, communities, government, the media and is dedicated to mobilising all sections of society to eliminate the root causes of deprivation, exclusion, exploitation and abuse. For more information please visit us at http://www.cry.org/.
For Further information, please contact: Child Rights and You (CRY) email@example.com (9810039283)
- National Family Health Survey-3 (NFHS-3)
- WHO, 2010
- SRS 2008. The SRS (Sample Registration System) is a large-scale demographic survey for providing reliable annual estimates of birth rate, death rate and other fertility & mortality indicators at the national and sub-national levels.
- Status of Children in India Inc: HAQ and Centre for Child Rights and FOCUS Report
- Census 2011
- National Family Health Survey-3 (NFHS-3)
- SRS 2008
- CRY and VoP picked 10% of the 2,841 children as a sample survey to analyse and understand the linkages between the socio-economic conditions and malnourishment.
- The basic minimum wage in UP is Rs 120 per day.
- Only 33 percent of children below 6 years receive any kind of service from an anganwadi centre. Use of services is greater where AWCs have been in operation for 6 or more years.
- CRY and VoP ICDS survey conducted in 17 UP districts, covering 421 ICDS centres 2010, found 38% ICDS workers belong to General and OBC categories, 16% to SC and 5% Muslims. Nutrition is the highest focus of ICDS centres (87% Centres) and referral is the least (34%). Only 49% centres said that they operate ECDC (pre-school) in their centres. 75% respondents said that bringing children to the centre is very tough and they need to put in lot of efforts. 38% workers agreed that they needed to put in their own funds to operate the centres.
- National Rural Health Mission (NRHM) report 2010, and Sample Registration carried out by the Family & Health Welfare Dept. of the Government of India.
- In 2011-12 out of total child budget that is Rs 30456 Crore government has decided to give only Rs 5347.80 Crore for child health.
- 1. Shyam Nagar, 2. Gautam Nagar, 3. Rajeev Nagar, 4. Rahul Nagar Pampapur, 5. Balbir Nagar, 6. Jhagriya, 7. New Ambedkar Nagar, 8. Shankar Nagar, 9. Patrapul, 10. Milan Basti, and 11. New Aarif Nagar
- Cyclone of Malnutrition, 2009
- Situational Analysis of Young Children in Delhi report, 2010