STATESMAN NEWS SERVICE
New Delhi, 14 November
Child Rights and You (CRY) has launched a nationwide "Vote For Child Rights" election advocacy campaign in a bid to influence political parties ahead of next year’s general election so that they "put children first".
 CRY also unveiled the Child Rights Manifesto that calls for all political parties to give top priority to children and commit to changing their situation. Speaking about the campaign, Ms Puja Marwaha, CEO of CRY, said the "Vote for Child Rights campaign is our way of ensuring that there is political will behind our justified demand to protect child rights. It is imperative that the best interest of the child be put at the centre of all policy, legislation and practice and the Vote for Child Rights campaign focuses on that solely".
 The manifesto is based on CRY’s in-depth analytical report "Status and Trends in Child Rights in India-An overview of the Past Decade" and covers the aspirations of children across 18 states of India. The report comprises views of development thinkers and practitioners in the child rights arena and provides a detailed analysis of child rights indicators.
The Child Rights Manifesto centres around 10 suggestions outlined by the NGO. They include harmonising the age definition for all child-related legislation, ensuring the implementation and expanding the scope of right to education, strengthening the implementation of Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS), reducing child mortality, declaring access to quality primary healthcare as a fundamental right, and many others.  The NGO is in the process of approaching key politicians of all major political parties with an appeal to give priority to children’s issues in their respective party manifestos.
 The Vote for Child Rights campaign will have a series of events across the nation to advocate the cause of ensuring child rights so that they become an intrinsic aspect of manifestos of all political parties. The events will range from signing pledges from the general public to getting prominent personalities to support the campaign, to holding city-centric events to showcase the current state of child rights in India.
 At the campaign launch, Ms Vijayalakshmi Arora, director, policy and advocacy, CRY, said, "This is our attempt to remind politicians and governments in power that it is their obligation to undertake all measures in protecting and promoting child rights."