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Navigating the Crossroads Indian Children, Cultural Identity, and the Right of Return in Global Child Protection

by EJ_Team
0 comment 3 minutes read

In recent times, a growing concern has emerged regarding the repatriation of Indian children in the custody of child protection services in Western countries. This issue, raised by a group of retired Supreme Court judges during the New Delhi G20 Summit, highlights the delicate balance needed between child welfare and preserving cultural identity. This blog post delves into the complexities surrounding the matter, addressing the challenges faced by Indian families abroad and proposing legal and diplomatic solutions.

The Scale of the Issue

With 32.2 million Indians residing overseas as of December 31, 2022, the Indian diaspora plays a crucial role in contributing to the country’s economy through remittances. However, the fear of Indian families living abroad, concerning the potential separation of their children by foreign child protection services, not only affects their economic productivity but also leads to legal battles that can deplete family resources.

Preserving Cultural Identity

One of the primary concerns raised is the preservation of cultural identity when placing Indian children in Western foster care. While ensuring the safety of children is paramount, it is equally important to maintain a connection to their cultural heritage. This highlights the need for sensitivity in handling cultural differences by child protection agencies.

The Legal Framework

The ‘right of return,’ a customary norm in international human rights law, offers a potential legal solution. Highlighted in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, this right asserts that everyone has the right to leave any country, including their own, and to return to their country. However, challenges arise as international law acknowledges the principle of sovereignty, granting each nation the freedom to self-govern without external interference.

Sovereignty and Challenges in Legal Recourse

The sovereignty of nations often protects child protection agencies, making legal recourse challenging for distressed parents. Indian law’s limitations, including non-signatory status to key conventions, further complicate the matter. The Hague Convention, primarily addressing civil and commercial matters, does not offer a comprehensive solution for issues related to child abduction, which are typically considered criminal in nature.

A Collaborative Approach

Balancing child welfare and cultural sensitivity requires a collaborative approach. Cultural competency training for child protection agencies, transparent decision-making processes, and a delicate balance between child welfare and cultural sensitivity can address the issue effectively. The Indian government, leveraging its economic clout, can play a pivotal role in improving child protection services globally, encouraging other nations to adopt better methods.

Winding it up

The repatriation of Indian children in the custody of foreign child protection services is a multifaceted issue that requires careful consideration of legal, cultural, and diplomatic aspects. Striking a delicate balance between child welfare and cultural sensitivity, coupled with a collaborative international approach, can pave the way for a more comprehensive and effective resolution.

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Education Journalist endeavours to bring this forward to mentor individuals or an organization and use their learning and experiences to pave their path.

 

contact@educationjournalist.com

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