India needs to focus on prevention to stamp out child labor — UN

Robie de Guzman   •   June 12, 2019   •   1357

Courtesy : Reuters

Children running around railway tracks in scorching Delhi heat, chasing trains and collecting plastic bottles from bogies to sell as scrap is a common sight at the city’s railway stations.

Often seen picking rags, sleeping on railway platforms or on the roadside, the brazen child laborers are the darkest part of the Indian capital’s underbelly.

The city, known to be a haven of working opportunities, is at the junction of states and receives millions of migrants every year.

Cities in India have a much higher number of child laborers’- many less than nine years of age – a U.N. children’s agency official said on Monday (June 10).

Migration is a major driver of child labor practices as the migrant parents usually come in search of livelihood to the city. And with no proper documents of age proof, the children from such families are often exploited by employers.

Despite a stringent legal framework against child labor, children are employed in producing everything from pickles to fireworks, working in tourism and laboring on building sites, to collecting scraps or selling flowers at traffic signals.

Rohit, a rag picker, who is on the threshold of adolescence, said he was disowned by his parents when he was not able to collect scrap because of a broken leg.

“My family threw me out. I was with them till the time I was picking rags. Then my leg broke and they threw me out. My brother and three, four boys helped me with the treatment and took care of me,” he said.

Although education policies have led to a rise in literacy, poverty still compels them to work and supplement household incomes.

Dhuwarakha Sriram, Child protection and Adolescent Specialist, United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) told Reuters Television that India needs to think of long-term solutions and focus on prevention instead of short term rescue and rehabilitation to fight the menace of rising child labor in its cities.

The latest Indian census data shows there are nearly 4.4 million child workers in the 5 to 14 age group in India.

The State of Child Workers in India report by UNICEF, based on the latest Indian census data, says the proportion of child workers in the 5 to 9-year age group jumped to 24.8 percent in 2011 from 14.6 percent in 2001. (REUTERS)

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PNP: No comment on UN resolution to probe human rights situation in the Philippines

Aileen Cerrudo   •   July 12, 2019

The Philippine National Police (PNP) has not commented on the United Nations (UN) resolution to probe the human rights situation in the Philippines.

Out of the 47 countries that are members of the UN Human Rights Council, 18 countries voted in favor of the resolution, 14 voted no while 15 countries abstained.

PNP spokesperson Col. Bernard Banac said that the issue “will be appropriately addressed by the Department of Foreign Affairs.”

“Meantime, the PNP will remain guided by instructions of higher authorities,” he said in a statement.—AAC

DOJ, NBI ready to probe law enforcers over violations in drug operations

Aileen Cerrudo   •   July 8, 2019

The Department of Justice (DOJ) and the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) are ready to probe law enforcers who may have committed violations during drug operations.

According to DOJ Secretary Menardo Guevarra they are prepared to investigate authorities who may have committed violations of law related to the government’s anti-drug war campaign.

“The DOJ and the NBI are ready and willing to investigate and prosecute law enforcement agents upon proper complaint by people who have personal knowledge of any wrongdoing by police officers during drug operations until witnesses come forward and testify,” he said in a statement.

This is Guevarra’s response when the Amnesty International called on the Justice department to conduct an investigation related to violations on drug operations.

“There’s no need for Amnesty International to urge us to investigate possible violations of law by  law enforcement agents in the conduct of the government’s anti-illegal drug campaign,” he said.

Guevarra reiterated that the police should respect the ‘presumption of regularity’ while performing their duties.—AAC (with reports from Mai Bermudez)

Evidence suggests Saudi crown prince is liable for Khashoggi murder — U.N. expert

Robie de Guzman   •   June 20, 2019

Courtesy : Reuters

Evidence suggests Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohamed bin Salman and other senior Saudi officials are liable for the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, a U.N. rights investigator said on Wednesday (June 19).

There was no immediate reaction from Riyadh which was sent the 100-page report in advance – but the kingdom has regularly denied accusations that the prince was involved.

Agnes Callamard, the U.N. special rapporteur on extrajudicial executions, called for countries to widen sanctions to include the Crown Prince and his personal assets, until and unless he can prove he has no responsibility.

Khashoggi, a critic of the prince and a Washington Post columnist, was last seen at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on Oct 2 where he was to receive papers ahead of his wedding.

His body was dismembered and removed from the building, the Saudi prosecutor has said, and his remains have not been found.

Callamard went to Turkey earlier this year with a team of forensic and legal experts and said she received evidence from Turkish authorities.

“I do not have evidence regarding who has ordered the killing. What I do have is evidence suggesting that the responsibilities of high-level officials may be engaged, and therefore is requiring further investigation, in particular of the Crown Prince,” Callamard said, urging U.N. Secretary-General to establish an international probe. (REUTERS)

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