SAAGN Regional Consultation on Child Rights
Yak & Yeti Hotel, Kathmandu, Nepal
30th and 31st August 2013
After two and a half years of intense activities within the project “Civil Society Alliance for Child Rights in South Asia”, the South Asian Alliance of Grassroots NGOs (SAAGN) with its 139 members in five countries; Afghanistan, Bangladesh, India, Nepal and Sri Lanka organised a South Asian Regional Consultation in Kathmandu, Nepal on 30th and 31st August 2013. The project is a tripartite initiative between Butterflies, CIAI and ISCOS and is funded and supported by the European Union (EU). The project is also implemented by Aschiana (Afghanistan), Aparajeyo (Bangladesh), Child Welfare Scheme Nepal (CWSN) and Kantha Shakthi (Sri Lanka). The SAAGN Alliance which reaches out to over a million children has been active in the South Asian region since 2007.
The five nation consultation saw the presence of more than 180 participants- representatives of NGOs, active members of the six stakeholder groups: teachers, judiciary, police, media, local self government, trade unions, relevant bureaucrats and policy makers and representatives of other national and international bodies and institutions committed to work towards the promotion and protection of child rights. All of them are working together to identify, on the basis of their concrete experience in the field of child rights and child protection, doable actions to improve the situation of the children in the region.
The two- day consultation was organised to deliberate on relevant issues and to extend the coalitions cooperation to issues affecting child rights in the region. On the first day, eminent dignitaries like Ms. Ridhibaba Pradhan, Hon. Minister of Women, Child and Social Welfare, Nepal; Dr. Rinchen Chopel, Director General, South Asia Initiative to End Violence Against Children ( SAIEVAC); Dr. Alexander Spachis, European Union ( EU) Ambassador; Paolo Palmerini, Director of Operations, CIAI, Italy; Gemma Arpaia, Area Manager, Asia, ISCOS, Italy; Mr. Upendra Adhikari, Joint Secretary, Ministry of Women, Child and Social Welfare; Mr. Ram Prasad Bhatt Rai, Under Secretary, Ministry of Women, Child and Social Welfare, graced the occasion with their presence.
The main highlights of the day were the Panel presentations by Mr. Andrea Rossi, Policy Advisor, UNICEF ROSA, Ms. Rohini Werrasinghe, Director, Kantha Shakti (Sri Lanka); Ms. Wahida Banu, Aparajeyo (Bangladesh); Md. Eng. Yousef, Director, Aschiana ( Afghanistan), and Ms. Rita Panicker, Director, Butterflies (India) on the five thematic areas: Corporal Punishment, Sexual Abuse and Exploitation, Early Marriage, Child Trafficking and Child Labour. Further during the day, the SAAGN Research Excerpts on ‘Situation of Children in South Asia’ was released by the hon’ble minister followed by subsequent deliberations
The second day focused on the compilation of the final recommendations proposed during the discussion groups in the previous day. A documentary on film tracking the trajectory of work with children produced by SAAGN was also released during the occasion. Subsequently, based on the recommendations and action plans that emerged out of the Kathmandu Consultation, the members of SAAGN along with civil society members, Trade Union members, Media representatives resolved to undertake the recommendations in all the five countries.
The consultation culminated with the formal release of the SAAGN Resolution which was signed and approved by more than 160 representatives across the five nations. SAAGN decided and resolved to create South Asia a child friendly region by attempting to ensure for every child, the best possible start to life; better survival, better education, protection, growth and development in good health and proper nutrition; making concerted efforts to prevent all acts of crimes against children, abuse, exploitation, discrimination and thus building a safe environment for them that enables them to be physically healthy, mentally alert, emotionally secure and socially competent. Confident of change SAAGN, as one body pledged to build for children a world where every girl and boy is assured of their childhood; where their hopes are rekindled; where they are educated; where their rights are protected; where they are dignified and respected; where their voices are heard and where they enjoy dignified life.
The core agenda for the two-day meeting was as follows:
1.Release of the Exerpts of the Five nation Research Study conducted by SAAGN on the Situation of Children in South Asia with specific recommendations to SAARC and regional governments
2.Sharing of Case Studies and Best Practices from Workshops with children and stakeholder groups
3.Screening of Documentary Film: Tracking the trajectory of work with children developed by the Alliance.
4.Releasing SAAGN Resolution: A Roadmap for SAAGN coalition on collaborations on Violence Against Children in collaborations with SAIEVAC, the SAARC apex body on Violence Against Children
The Meeting at Kathmandu culminated with the SAAGN coalitions Press Release and the Kathmandu Commitment- Resolution for the alliance to work on and achieve in its next phase at Hotel Yak and Yeti
Meeting Schedule file for download : saagn-kathmandu-meeting-schedule-30aug2013.pdf