New Delhi, Feb.18 ANI | 10 months ago

A two-day National Conference on 'Human Rights of women' organized by the National Human Rights Commission began at Indian International Centre, New Delhi today.

Inaugurating the Conference, Mr. Justice K.G. Balakrishnan, Chairperson, NHRC, said that women should find space in all spheres of life.

He further said that there are several laws which have been enacted at different stages to protect the women's rights as and when the society faced new problems and challenges.

He added: But, the problem lies in the gender inequality which is rooted in our social system where women have a subordinate role to play. This gender inequality leads to social discrimination.

The NHRC Chairperson, referred to various issues relating to women's welfare and underlined the importance of gender budgeting and empowerment of women at Panchayat level in all States. He said that women have to push their voice to ensure that non-lapsable thousand crore 'Nirbhaya' Fund could be effectively used to take care of their several problems. He said that it cannot be said for sure that all the States have been able to use the provisions of this Fund to address the concerns of women.

Dr. Syeda Hamid, Member, Planning Commission of India, said State Human Rights Commissions should take it up with the respective State Governments the issue of utilization of funds meant for women's welfare.

She said that declining sex-ratio is a silent demographic disaster. Trafficking of women still looms large. The 12th Plan Document of the Planning Commission recognizes women as engines of growth and also reflects the issues affecting their welfare in a shift from earlier Plan Documents.

A.K. Jain, Secretary, Union Ministry of Women and Child Development spoke about various policy initiatives of the Government promoting and protecting women's welfare.

However, he said, that there was still a huge gap between the various policy oriented services and the delivery mechanism. He said that the government's initiatives needed to be backed-up by all the stakeholders to bear fruits. Role played by traditional courts like Khap Panchayats require careful study and suggestions for seeking corrective action in their functioning.

Jain said that the Government was working towards creating a Single Window System for addressing all issues concerning women's welfare through 'Poorna Shakti Kendra' under the aegis of the Ministry of Women and Child Development.

Earlier, Dr. Parvinder Sohi Behuria, Secretary General of the Commission gave an insight into the various initiatives taken by the Commission in addressing the concerns of women's welfare.

Later, addressing the First Technical Session on 'Setting the Agenda on Women's Issues', Dr. Kiran Bedi, former IPS officer and Founder of an NGO, India Vision Foundation, said that a holistic approach was needed for prevention of violence against women and girls as the issue had a very large connotation.

She emphasized that the prevention of violence against women needed to have a change in the mindsets for which the first step forward is proper parenting. Giving a deep insight into her principle of six 'Ps', including, parents, principals, people (panchayats, NGOs, politicians), policing, prosecution and prisons and press, she said that the National Human Rights Commission and State Human Rights Commissions could act as a hub to bring the representatives of all the stakeholders under one roof, once in every three months, for social auditing of the welfare measures and to discuss various issues relating to them in the backdrop of recent happenings to ensure that women's concerns were collectively addressed as most of the time people have had been working separately for them.

Dr. Sunita Krishnan of PRAJWALA, an NGO, spoke about trafficking in women and girls and how it continued unabated. She also raised concerns about health tourism, organ harvesting and organ trading. Ms. Ena Singh of UNFPA, spoke about women's sexual and reproductive health rights and Ms. Rashmi Singh, Executive Director, National Mission for Empowerment of Women, Ministry of Women and Child Development spoke about women empowerment and gender equality and several policy initiatives in this regard.

The discussions will continue tomorrow among representatives of Ministries of Women and Child Development, Home Affairs, Labour, External Affairs, Panchayati Raj, Health and Family Welfare, international non-governmental organizations, civil society organizations and National and State Commissions. The final suggestions and recommendations will be sent to the Government after the conclusion of the Conference.

(Posted on 18-02-2014)

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