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Child protection in armed conflict: UN to hold high-level debate

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United Nations: The UN Security Council will hold a high-level open debate on children and armed conflict with the theme “Protecting Children Today Prevents Conflict Tomorrow” on Monday, aiming to bring world attention to the protection of children in armed conflict. Diplomatic sources said on Saturday that the meeting will be chaired by Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Lofven. UN Special Representative for Children and Armed Conflict Virginia Gamba will present the secretary-general’s annual report on children and armed conflict, Xinhua reported. Other speakers include the executive director of the United Nations Children’s Fund (Unicef) Henrietta Fore, and Yenny Londono, a civil society representative from Colombia. The Council is expected to adopt a resolution during the meeting, informed sources said. There were at least 21,000 grave violations of children’s rights verified by the UN last year (6,000 by government forces and 15,000 by non-state armed groups), a 27 per cent increase over 2016, according to the Security Council Report, Inc. whose mission is to advance the transparency and effectiveness of the Security Council. Increasing violations are largely attributed to “the changing nature of conflict and the deterioration in a number of situations,” the SCR said in a report. Among the trends that Gamba may highlight are “the denial of humanitarian access as a weapon of war and increased attacks on schools and hospitals,” according to the SCR. Sweden, the chair of the Security Council Working Group on Children and Armed Conflict, circulated a concept note on June 21, which highlights three key areas: protecting children and upholding their rights; successful reintegration of former child soldiers; and peace processes as an entry point for protecting children. Londono, who was forcibly recruited by the FARC-EP (the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, a guerrilla movement involved in the continuing Colombian armed conflict from 1964 to 2017) when she was 13, is expected to speak about the special needs of children who have been forcibly recruited. She was involved in the peace negotiations between the Colombian government and the FARC-EP and may provide insights on how to better integrate children’s needs in peace processes. Sweden had been keen to have a resolution which would build on the approach of last year’s presidential statement, which addressed the connection between conflict prevention and the protection of children. While a more focused resolution was originally considered, ultimately it was decided that a more comprehensive resolution would send a strong signal of the Council’s commitment to the children and armed conflict agenda, according to the SCR.


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Adv Ganai urges stakeholders to work for developing robust education system

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Srinagar, Mar 21: Advisor to Governor, Khurshid Ahmad Ganai on Thursday urged the stakeholders— including private schools to work efficiently for providing quality education to the student community at all levels.

Speaking to scores of delegations during a day-long public hearing under the aegis of Governor’s Public Grievance cell, here at Church Lane, Ganai emphasized that robust education sector was vital for overall growth of the state.

During the camp, the Advisor met around 40 delegations and scores of individuals from across the Kashmir division—who apprised him with various issues and problems faced by them.

 

A delegation of Private School Association of Jammu and Kashmir led by its president, GN War appraised the Advisor about various initiatives in the private schools. He sought education-friendly decisions from the government to encourage education providers. The delegation suggested that there was a dire need of establishing State Education Council—which could work for the betterment of the educational sector in the State.  

Lauding the efforts of the private schools, Ganai said that it was commendable the way private schools stakeholders were providing quality education despite many odds. He said that Jammu and Kashmir could become a hub of educational activities only when all the stakeholders would come forward and work for the betterment of educational sector.

The Advisor also received feedback from the delegation about the facilities available in their schools.
Interacting with delegation, Ganai urged them to observe ‘Punctuality Week’ in schools from 1 to 6 April.  He said the schools need to be made a place where the children are willing to go and attend their classes regularly.

Meanwhile, several other delegations including delegation from Pahoo Pulwma, Soibugh, Budgam, Anjuman Falah Islam, Harwan, Srinagar, delegations of FOs from Department of Horticulture, Delegation of Sarpanchs, Delegation from NGO Sunrise, Delegation of PhD scholars of Department of Linguistics, University of Kashmir. Deputations from various areas including Soura, Bandipora, Sopore, Ganderbal among other areas also called on the advisor and apprised him about various issues of their areas.

Ganai said that Governor’s Administration was taking every possible step to ensure quality education was provided to students at all the levels—including the students from far off areas.
After listening to the delegations, Ganai directed the concerned officials to reach out to the people and address their issues at an earliest.

Earlier, a delegation of All Jammu and Kashmir (Hajj and Umrah) Private Tour Operators met Advisor Ganai—appealing him to enhance the quota for the State.
Ganai assured that some positive developments in this regard would follow soon. He informed delegation that he would personally take up the matter with the concerned union ministry and address their grievances.

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Aspirants demand postponement of KCS Judicial (Main) exam

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Srinagar, Mar 21: KCS judicial exam aspirants demand postponement of main examination which is scheduled to commence from 23rd march on the grounds of the sub-judice matter of the selection process which has created uncertainty over the fate of the examination and disturbed aspirants’ preparation.
Aspirants maintained that the process of examination is challenged in Jammu wing of High Court and the honorable court held that the selection process is subject to the outcome of the writ petition. The court sent a notice to JKPSC to file objection to the issues raised by the petitioners.
“JKPSC has changed the rules of the examination in the middle of the game which is against the Supreme Court judgments. JKPSC in its date sheet notification for main examination dated 29-12-2018 makes no mention of the question paper-cum answer books where as a separate notification dated 01.02.2019 whereby it has been decided that the question paper-cum answer books shall as far as practicable be used henceforth for the competitive examinations. The aspirants came to know of this change in the rule by the Instructions on the Admit cards issued in March”, an aspirant told Kashmir News Service (KNS).
The aspirants maintained that JKPSC is pushing them into a depression hole. “We have prepared in accordance with the earlier examination pattern. In the earlier pattern a candidate was not bound to write in a limited space and continuation answer sheets were provided. It is a natural principle that a new rule has a prospective effect and not a retrospective effect. Giving the rule retrospective effect is ultra-vire and is challenged in the court of law”, said another aspirant.
Controller of examination, JKPSC, Shabir Hussain Keen said, “We will file objections in HC and prove the fairness of the selection process there. As of now there will be no deferment in the already notified dates for the examination and the aspirants should instead focus on their studies.”
Pertinently, JKPSC has been in the controversies for most of the recruitment processes be it KAS, 10+2 lecturer, Assistant Professor or KCS judicial examination. In the recent KAS controversy JKPSC is dragged to HC and SC for the faulty digital evaluation which was not supported by the rule of law. More than 500 cases are pending in HC and SC against the commission.

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PC leader Salam Ud Din Bajad joins NC

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Srinagar, Mar 21: Noted broadcaster, Former Deputy Director General Doordarshan Kendra Srinagar, Chief Editor Nawa-e-Qoum and PC 2014 Baramulla LS candidate Salam Ud Din Bajad on Thursday joined Jammu and Kashmir National Conference.
Welcoming former Broadcaster into the party fold, party vice president Omar Abdullah said, “Our party stands for equitable development approach for meeting the needs of under-served communities through policies and programmes that reduce disparities by fostering development towards creating strong and vibrant communities.”
Party vice president, while welcoming the new entrant said, “The party will surely benefit from Bajad sahib’s experience in public life.”
Senior leaders Muhammad Ramzan choudhary, Muhammad Akbar lone, Nasir Aslam Wani were also present on the occasion.
Bajad is also Secretary Gujjar Desh Charitable Trust Sunjuwa By pass Jammu and also a trustee of J&K Peoples Educational Trust. He is also associated with many social and literary organizations.
Meanwhile in a separate function at party head quarters Nawa- e –Subha, Srinagar, party general secretary Haji Ali Muhammad Sagar welcomed the new entrant into the party fold. Among others Qaisar Jamheed Lone, Javed Dar, Ghulam Hassan Rahi was also present on the occasion.

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