Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Public hearing to ensure human dignity against on bonded labour and children labour

On the one side India is moving ahead to be the superpower in the world and on the other side it is stated to be the home for largest number of bonded labours. On October 25, 2013 the People’s Vigilance Committee on Human Rights (PVCHR) jointly with the Danish Institute Against Torture (dignity) with the support from Voice of People and QICAC, organised the public hearing against bonded labour and child labour to protest human dignity.

The Chief Guest in the programme was Dr. Yogesh Dube, the member of the National Child Protection Commission and chairperson of the core committee for eradication of bonded labour in Uttar Pradesh along with Ms Shameena Shafiq, member National Women’s’ Commission, and Assistant Registrar, National Human Rights Commission Mr. O.P Vyas. Former DGP Uttarakhand Mr. Jyotiswaroop Pandey was present in the hearing as jury. Ravindra Singh Dogra the secretary of the Panchayati raj and Rastravadi Granthalaya was special guest

 The members of the jury released a report called “The dark site of India” during the programme. The report has been published by the PVCHR on the basis of the experience of bonded labours in Uttar Pradesh.

Giving his welcome address and throwing light upon the subject the director of PVCHR Dr Lenin Raghuvanshi said that in the past two-and-half years the organisation has been successful in liberating 243 bonded labours through advocacy at different levels including district, state and national administration. Since 1996 about 3500 bonded labours have been set free from the organised bonded labour system. He said that this is astonishing but fact that these bonded labours belong to scheduled caste, tribal community, backward class or minority community and none of them belonged to upper caste. He said that existence of bonded labours in our society today has several reasons such as economic discrepancies, caste systems, autocratic attitude, communal mindset and patriarchal thoughts. It is due to such practices that castes are suppressed and worst is the situation of women and children.

For the public hearing, about 70 cases from different districts such as Sonebhadra, Jaunpur, Varanasi, Chandauli and Aligarh were brought for discussion in the hearing. Out of the total about 15 such cases who are waiting for justice, were presented before the jury where the victims presented their tale of woes. They narrated how the administration ignores their welfare, their rehabilitation, social development, welfare schemes for them and even eradication of bonded labour system. It may be mentioned that the report released by minister Shiv Pal Singh Yadav on the Mujaffarnagar riots does indicated on bonded labours but it does not accepts the problem exists straightaway. The report says some of the riot victims are not going back from relief camps as they have taken loan from the brick kiln owners and fear they will ask the money back, says the point number two of the report. In the Bandhuaa Mukti Morcha Vs Union Government case it has been said that if someone has taken a loan and is made to do same work repeatedly to repay the loan, and the loan taker is frightened and is not being given minimum wages the person according to the reference given in the case is termed as a bonded labour. In such matter the victim should be liberated and his or her rehabilitation should be ensured to provide a free life.

Recently a renowned organisation from Australia, “Walk Free Foundation” has released a report on slavery index 2013 which says the survey was done in 162 countries and 3 crore people in these countries are slaves. Of these half 1.39 crore are in India. Along with India the other poor countries of the world the poor are being made slave against their poverty, political instability, caste, gender and illiteracy and are subjected to human trafficking, forced marriage, sex trade, and other offence. Making someone victim and exploiting them sexually and mentally by making them slave that were experienced by humans in 18th century still exists in some part of the world while laws against human slavery were brought in and implemented decades before. The labour department runs several welfare schemes for labours. In fact bonded labour and child labour fetch manifold profits to capitalists.

For the success of the public hearing the Uttar Pradesh Social Welfare Board and agriculture production commissioner gave their messages and the public hearing was participated by organisations such as International Justice Mission, OXFAM and pressed upon the need to eradicate child labour and bonded labour. The sessions were coordinated by Shruti Nagvanshi of Voice of People’s state coordinator, and vote of thanks was given by Anoop Srivastava of the PVCHR.

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