Keep programmes for children at centre-stage of policy-making: President

New Delhi, Dec 10 (IANS) Reminding the society about its moral obligation towards development and security of children, President Pranab Mukherjee on Saturday said programmes and actions for children have to take centre-stage in national policy-making.

Addressing the opening session of the first ever “Laureates and Leaders for Children Summit” at the Rashtrapati Bhavan here, he said the disparities in education, health and poverty indicators will have to be eliminated and pointed out education was the strongest weapon in the fight against inequality.

Mukherjee said that problems of varying degree afflicts children – from bullying at school to cases of sexual harassment, child marriage and trafficking.

“They are still suffering from malnutrition and are dying of preventable diseases.

“According to UNICEF, 80 percent of child deaths occur in South Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa. In regions marred by armed conflicts, violence and insurgencies, children are the most affected. There are many children amongst refugees who face an uncertain future.

“We have a shared responsibility to reduce the inequalities that harm the underprivileged children. The disparities in education, health and poverty indicators will have to be eliminated,” he said.

Mukherjee said the factors hampering the progress of disadvantaged children will have to be removed.

“We, indeed, have a moral obligation towards our children; towards their development and security, and in giving them equal opportunity. Let us commit ourselves to the noble task of fulfilment and protection of child rights everywhere,” he said.

Organised by Nobel laureate and child rights activists Kailash Satyarthi, the summit witnessed the participation of several Nobel laureates and global leaders like the Dalai Lama, Princess Charlene of Monaco, Prince Ali Bin Al Hussein of Jordan, Princess Laurentien of The Netherlands among others.

The two-day summit aims towards building a strong moral platform for protecting children from violence, and ensuring a world where children are free to be just children.

–IANS

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