97% orphanages are illegal

97% orphanages are illegal
Highlights

97% orphanages are illegal. A State Human Rights Commission (SHRC) report has revealed that of the 150 odd orphanages being operated in Hyderabad and Secunderabad, 146 are illegal and has no proper mechanism to ensure child rights at these houses.

Most of the child abuse cases, including sexual abuse, have been reported from orphanages across the city, including the most recent ones in Moula Ali and Neredmet

Only 4 out of 150 odd orphanages in city are certified fit to run

Few are not even registered

CWC official says orphanage owners bribe to get licences

Illegal homes are hand in glove with local politicians in running a sex racket

A State Human Rights Commission (SHRC) report has revealed that of the 150 odd orphanages being operated in Hyderabad and Secunderabad, 146 are illegal and has no proper mechanism to ensure child rights at these houses. Only four of these houses comply with the criteria for running an orphanage.

The rest, about 97 per cent, are running without the ‘Fit Institution Certificate’ from the Child Welfare Committee (CWC) constituted by the State. While most of the child abuse cases, including sexual abuse, have been reported from orphanages across the city, including the most recent ones in Moula Ali and Neredmet where the owners outraged modesty of children, CWC officials maintain that private agencies are venturing into illegal activities.

If that is the case, many questions pop up such as: How do these agencies manage to get licenses? Why are there no regular inspections by CWC to keep a tab on illegal homes? How come these homes get foreign contributions despite not being registered as per the Foreign Contributions Regulation Act (FCRA) to receive foreign funds and donations? Why no cases have filed by police?

Reacting on this subject, C Syamala Devi, acting chairperson, CWC, said that many cases of sexual abuse and violation of human rights of inmates in orphanages and charitable homes go unreported as there were no records about the inmates at illegal orphanages or for that matter, any accountability to ensure that the donations received by foreign agencies, philanthropists were utilised for the children.

“They can go to any extent and even suborn and get licenses to run the show. They run these houses in the guise of charity and philanthropy and mint money. Who asked these people to run these kinds of illegal and unhygienic houses in the name of charity? There are number of good government homes where sufficient money is there to take care of orphans.

An organiser, before setting up a home, should fulfill the criteria religiously and a ‘moral obligation’ should be followed rather than just pocketing money or run an illegal sex racket. “It is not the work of government alone to go to every nook and corner and check for illegal homes; it is equally the responsibility of each citizen to inform the officials if anything ‘suspicious’ is going on in the locality,” Syamala said adding, “People’s duty does not end with merely visiting orphanages and donating food, clothes and money.

They should check as to what things are going behind the screen while visiting orphanages. Meanwhile SHRC member Achyuta Rao observed that registration under the Juvenile Justice (JJ) Act would make orphanages comply, ensure standards of accommodation, food, infrastructure, human resources and healthcare of children up to 18 years. He pointed out that periodic supervision by the CWC would reduce the lacuna and abusive situation in orphanages.

“As basic criteria, the home area should be 2.5 square feet per child who is less than five years whereas for orphans above five years the area should be 6.5 square feet per child. Boys and girls should be kept separated. Security at homes should be 24 x7. A full-time pediatrician and two nurses for every 30 children should be appointed.

Accounts, records and registers should be properly maintained. Cooked food should be tasted first by the manager and supervisor before supplying but nothing is being followed and illegal homes are mushrooming,” Rao said adding that even police dilute cases yielding to political pressure.

By Victor Rao

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