Everybody Is A Stakeholder In Safeguarding Children, Says Alun Hangsing - Eastern Mirror
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Everybody is a stakeholder in safeguarding children, says Alun Hangsing

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By Reyivolü Rhakho Updated: Mar 22, 2024 9:36 pm
Safeguarding Children
Alun Hangsing addressing the workshop on cyber safety and security of children in school in Kohima on Friday. (EM Images)

KOHIMA — The paramount importance of safeguarding children’s rights was underscored during a one-day state-level workshop on cyber safety and security of children held at Hotel Japfu, Kohima, on Friday.

Addressing the workshop, chairman of the Nagaland State Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NSCPCR), Alun Hangsing, said that the rights of children can never be disregarded and everybody in the society is a stakeholder in safeguarding children.

It is the society’s duty to ensure a conducive environment for children, he added.

The chairman noted that lack of awareness has contributed to numerous instances of child abuse, with the most recent cases being reported in Kohima and Wokha. He called for collective efforts to strengthen the child rights commission and related agencies so that such incidents do not occur in the future.

Highlighting the activities of the commission, he mentioned the team’s ongoing efforts to raise awareness at various levels. Last year, they conducted awareness campaigns in schools across various districts, which they said will continue.

Established as an autonomous body nine years ago, the commission is in place to monitor and see that government policies relating to children are being implemented in the right earnest, he said.

Safeguarding Children
Martha R Ritse addressing the workshop on cyber safety and security of children in school in Kohima on Friday. (EM Images)

The secretary of Social Welfare department, Martha Ritse, drew attention to the risks posed by the internet to children’s safety.

Despite the immense opportunities it provides, internet has become a source of cyberbullying, haven for online predators, and exposure to inappropriate content, scams and many other forms of cyber-crimes, she observed.

Stating that these threats can have profound and lasting effects on the children’s mental, emotional and physical health, she emphasised the need for parents, educators, caregivers and members of society to take proactive measures to equip children with the necessary knowledge and skills to navigate cyberspace safely.

She also stressed the need to have stronger mechanisms in place to support, protect, educate and empower children to make informed decisions and protect themselves from potential dangers lurking in cyberspace.

Further, she said that ensuring children’s safety online requires continued intervention, constant vigilance and collaborative efforts. Towards this, she called on the community to create more awareness at the grassroots and encouraged them to recommit to the cause of children’s safety, both on and off line.

The workshop also featured insights from Additional SP Cyber Crime PHQ, Nagaland, Michael Yhome, who outlined prevalent cyber crimes in the state, including financial frauds and social media-related offenses.

In regards to financial frauds, there are victims from Nagaland while accused are mostly from outside the state, he said, adding that under social media crimes, the victims and accused are generally known to each other or committed due to personal disputes/ enmity.

Advocate Somashree Das, a cyber expert from NCPCR, provided further commentary on cyber safety and security.

Earlier in the workshop, NSCPCR member, Akumla Longchari, also told the gathering that children’s safety and security is not just a moral imperative but an obligation that transcends all boundaries. She called upon all to pledge to be advocates for change, champions for children, and guardians of their well-being.

The event was organised by National Commission for Protection of Child Rights in collaboration with Nagaland State Commission for Protection of Child Rights.

Wokha case to be tried under POCSO

In response to a case of a minor being abused in Wokha, Ritse confirmed that the accused would be tried under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act.

Speaking to the media on the sidelines of the event, she emphasised the importance of awareness and sensitisation in preventing such incidents, stating that awareness reduces the chances of such incidents happening again.

She added that such incidents should be reported as there is a system in place to handle it. Ultimately, it relies on relatives, parents, or caregivers being aware and sensitised, she said, noting that more people are becoming aware and coming forward to report cases related to children’s rights.

Additionally, she said that cases like these are tried under POCSO Act and fast-tracked in courts and proactive steps are taken to rehabilitate the children.

Meanwhile, Hangsing expressed concern over cases of child-related offenses being ‘compromised’ outside the judicial system, saying that the perpetrators are not receiving the due punishment according to the Act or law.

Advocating for stricter adherence to the law to ensure justice for victims, he said that the practice of ‘compromising’ between the two parties should be done away with.

He also highlighted the relatively low incidence of child abuse cases in Nagaland, attributing it to the ‘high moral obligations of a Christian state’.

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By Reyivolü Rhakho Updated: Mar 22, 2024 9:36:28 pm
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