Migration Narratives: The SHRAM Blog

Voicing the concerns of the child migrant

There exist vast disparities when it comes to treatment of a usual child and the child of a migrant. When it comes to a migrant child, he/she is met out unequal treatment to say the least. Abuse, harassment, trafficking, forced labour is a part of their lives just by the virtue of being a migrant. Being the “invisible population” they remain out of sight from the government’s policy making process.

The United Nations Convention on the Rights of a Child ratifies certain articles that cater to the needs of a child. The articles of the Convention, in addition to laying the foundational principles from which all rights must be achieved, call for the provision of specific resources, skills and contributions necessary to ensure the survival and development of children to their maximum capability. The convention came up repeatedly in discussion as to the difficulties in the governance and application of the same. There are approximately 15 million child migrants in India with one-third in the age group of 0-14 years.

The two day national workshop on ‘Education, Protection & Healthy Environment of Migrant Children’ concluded on the 6th of December 9, 2013 on a high note. Organized by Aide Et Action, the venue echoed with questions, issues and problems on the overarching theme of migrant children. During these two days, one could feel the need of a voice to the silent testimonies of migrant children. The workshop was meant to voice the silent victims of internal migration who remain outside the purview of the state.

Children migrate with their families or independently. Migrant children lose access to basic entitlements, miss out on education and are subject to health and security risks. Having identified the issues, the question that arises naturally is whose responsibility is it to provide for the entitlements? Is the state or is the civil society.  Scholars, luminaries, social scientists and workers who have worked passionately on voicing the needs of children deliberated on the method of response mechanism being adopted for securing the rights of child migrants.

Experiences took centre-stage when field workers narrated their stories in working with migrant families. The dais took turns in speaking on education, health, protective environment while the audience listened in rapt attention. The decision was unanimous across all stakeholders present at the workshop-to develop and strengthen a child-sensitive environment. Migration is an economic process which is inevitable. It has been occurring through time in accord with the process of development of society. The need of the hour was to adopt a ‘continuum of care’ framework in designing migration interventions that consider age and gender specific risks and vulnerabilities of children and that increase essential services for mothers, newborns and children at critical stages of their life who are a part of the internal migration process.

Aritra Chakrabarty

Aritra Chakrabarty

Anchor, SHRAM (Till Dec 31st, 2014)

As a social researcher, I believe in knowledge-based policy action. With a postgraduate degree in Development Studies, I've been associated with social issues in my professional space. As a part of SHRAMIC initiative, was involved with data creation, sourcing of resources that will become the knowledge bank of this project.
Aritra Chakrabarty

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