With instances of children being used in various activities by political parties during election campaigns coming to light, the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) has written to Chief Election Commissioner V.S. Sampath to check the malpractice.
“This use of children for election work is a violation of their rights. The UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, which has been ratified by India, provides under Article 36 that ‘children should be protected from any activities that could harm their development’. Article 32 also provides that the Government should protect them from work that is dangerous or might harm their health or their education,” noted NCPCR chairperson Kushal Singh in her letter.
Stating that it views this matter very seriously, the NCPCR noted in its letter, “We have requested the Election Commission to make sure that our recommendations to ensure that children stay protected is strictly enforced.” “We have recommended that officials deputed on election duties and also by political parties during the election campaign/canvassing in the forthcoming Assembly and General Elections are aware that children should not be involved in any form in carrying EVMs or other equipment/material to the election booths/strong rooms/godowns,” noted the letter.
Direct all parties: NCPCR
The Commission has also noted that all political parties – national as well as State level – be directed not to use children for distribution of posters/pamphlets or to participate in slogan shouting, campaign rallies and election meetings or in any form whatsoever.
“We have been observing child rights violation repeatedly and decided to bring it to the notice of the Election Commission. The Commission (NCPCR) has issued a set of recommendation for the Election Commission to enforce for the welfare of children,” noted Ms. Singh.