September 30, 2013 : SAIEVAC addresses children’s issues through its 3rd Technical Consultation in Thimpu, Bhutan

Is child marriage a tradition or abuse of children’s right?  Is making students learn by beating acceptable?

These are some of the issues 70 representatives from South Asian countries, civil society organisations, United Nations, international non-government organisations, child governing board members and child representatives from SAARC will deliberate on when they meet in in Thimphu to discuss issues and challenges that are harmful practices against children, based on tradition, culture, religion and superstition.

The director general for the South Asian initiative to end violence against children (SAIEVEC), Dr Rinchen Chophel, said this is the third technical consultation in Bhutan on the theme, and it is based on the fact that the biggest challenges faced in South Asia, as well as globally, are related to issues.

South Asia Initiative to End Violence Against Children (SAIEVAC) is the SAARC Apex Body for children dealing with violence against children at the regional level. SAIEVAC Secretariat organised its 3rd Technical Consultation on Eliminating Harmful Practices affecting Children Based on Tradition, Culture, Religion and Superstition from 24th to 27th September 2013 in Thimphu, Bhutan.

Despite legislation which discourages the use of such practices, which very often target young women and girls, they are rarely perceived as harmful but in reality result in death, disability, compromised health and psychological trauma for many children around the world. Increasingly gaining the attention of the wider global community, harmful practices may be either traditional or newly emerging but in general usually have cultural, social or religious underpinnings. While all violations of children’s rights can legitimately be described as “harmful practices”, those based upon tradition, culture, religion or superstition are especially challenging as they are perpetrated or actively condoned by parents or influential leaders within the community and often enjoy continued support from the state and the wider community. This consultation is in keeping with the recommendations of the 3rd Governing Board Meeting of SAIEVAC held in Colombo, Sri Lanka on 30th May 2012.