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International Day of the Girl Child: sex-selective abortion a huge threat to girls

Summary

  • ADF India calls for further protection of girls’ rights
  • #VanishingGirls campaign continues to educate women about their rights

NEW DELHI (10 October 2018) – Do girls have the same value and rights as boys? 11 October marks the celebration of the International Day of the Girl Child. Its aim is to help focus on the status of girls all over the world. In many countries, sex-selective abortion has been a growing threat to girls’ lives. For example, India has lost over 60 million women in the past one decade due to the wide spread use of this practice. There are 21 million girls unwanted by their family in the country today, according to the 2018 Economic Survey issued by the Indian government.

“In our country, 50,000 babies are aborted every month for one reason: they are girls instead of boys,” said Tehmina Arora, Director of ADF India. “India’s skewed sex ratio shows that, as a nation, we have failed girls. They are either aborted or, once born, subject to various forms of violence. It’s time to address this issue, especially on the International Day of the Girl Child. Every child is precious. Both girls and boys have an equal right to life and liberty. Our nation cannot afford to lose its little girls to discrimination and neglect. India’s future is interlinked with the lives of the girls and women of the country. Whoever believes that girls share the same rights as boys cannot turn a blind eye to what is happening in India today.”

Enabling women to save their daughters

This year, ADF India will be celebrating the International Day of the Girl Child, as part of the #VanishingGirls campaign, at Dilli Haat in New Delhi. The programme includes the street play Dastak Dilli, which deals with issues and problems faced by girls in India.

It also raises awareness about sex-selective abortion, which remains a problem in India that few women openly speak about. The drama illustrates some of the efforts of the #VanishingGirls campaign, which also include outreach programmes and workshops educating women all over the country. The education focuses on mothers’ legal and social options, enabling them to accept and give life to their baby girls regardless of social pressures.

#VanishingGirls

The #VanishingGirls campaign is an initiative of ADF India advocating for the right to life particularly focusing on the practice of sex-selective abortion in India. The campaign launched in 2016 and has celebrated the UN’s International Day of the Girl Child every year since.

In addition to raising awareness about sex-selective abortion, ADF India’s #VanishingGirls campaign also advocates for a correct implementation of the Pre-Conception Pre-Natal Diagnostics Techniques Act that India adopted in 1994.

Existing laws are ineffectively implemented

The law is an important instrument in the fight against sex-selective abortion and could help bring a gradual change to Indian society, in which girls are still heavily discriminated against. Implementation of the act, however, has been poor and sporadic in most parts of the country.

Inherent right to life, regardless of sex

“The International Day of the Girl Child is a good occasion to remind us that currently, countless girls in India are killed in the womb. Laws are in place to prevent this practice but it is imperative that they are enforced effectively,” said Paul Coleman, Executive Director of ADF India’s partner, ADF International.

The United Nations founded the International Day of the Girl Child in 2012 in order to raise awareness about the status of girls worldwide. This includes areas such as education, legal rights, protection from discrimination, and child marriages. Sex-selective abortion also falls under these concerns.

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