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Virus and Poverty: the Phenomenon of “Child Brides” Worsens, Political Responses are Urgently Needed

An United Nations Poster

Pune,India: Tens of thousands of girls in various nations of Asia are forced, due to the Covid-19 pandemic, to marry at a very young. The girls come from families who live in poverty, aggravated by the coronavirus. It is feared that years of progress made to combat the phenomenon of “child brides” will be canceled out becauses of viruses and poverty: this is the alarm raised by the NGO “Girls Not Brides”, which brings together a network of over 1,460 organizations scattered throughout the world, even in the Catholic world. “All the gains obtained in the last decade will suffer”, says Shipra Jha, at the head of the NGO “Girls Not Brides”, committed at an international level to fighting the plague of child brides. “Early marriage is firmly rooted in gender inequality and patriarchal structures. What has now happened is that Covid aggravates the situation”, notes the NGO in a note sent to Agenzia Fides. The alarm raised by “Girls Not Brides” reminds us that poverty, lack of education and insecurity lead to early marriages even in stable times and that periods of crisis aggravate the problem. According to the United Nations, the phenomenon affects 12 million girls under the age of 18 every year.

Early marriage is a widespread practice in some traditional communities from Indonesia to India, Pakistan and Vietnam, but the numbers of the phenomenon – warns the NGO – had gradually decreased in recent years, thanks to the commitment of organizations and associations that encourage women’s access to education and health services. However, these improvements are being eroded by the impact of the pandemic which, in many Asian states, causes job losses and leaves families in serious trouble.

The NGO Girls Not Brides explains: “South Asia is home to the largest population of young people and adolescents in the world. The pandemic has caused an unprecedented economic crisis and exacerbated inequalities. The impact is particularly severe for women and girls who face greater risks of gender-based violence, unwanted pregnancies and early marriages”. They therefore ask for “policy responses to address their specific needs and challenges. This situation must change. The governments of Asian nations must step up their efforts to include women and girls among the priorities in the protection of human dignity in South Asia”. “We need to work together, thanks to a partnership between governments and civil society, to ensure that girls at risk of early marriage and married girls are not left out among the interventions related to the Covid-19 emergency”: is the appeal launched by the NGO.

Among the various Catholic organizations, it is above all the nuns of various religious orders who deal with the problem, accompanied by lay volunteers who work for religious organizations such as Caritas. In many Countries there is a special section of the organization that deals with early marriages and human trafficking. Caritas India, for example, works in this direction in dozens of villages in Bihar, to sensitize families on the harmful effects of early marriages. In India this tradition is prevalent mainly in the States of Jharkhand, Bihar, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh but also in the richer Punjab where, among other congregations, the Little Sisters of Saint Teresa are active who, through dialogue and a specific path of formation, educate the families of the diocese of Jalandhar to abandon this practice. In return, they offer education and professional training to young people and especially girls, to give families an alternative.

Sister Lucy Kurien, of the Sisters of the Holy Cross, is the founder and director of “Maher” (in Marathi language “Mother’s House”), an interreligious community and organization for destitute women and abused children, based in Pune, in the State of Maharashtra. In the “Maher” houses in Jharkhand, Kerala, Uttar Pradesh and Maharashtra it is recommended, especially in rural areas, not to marry teenage daughters, by conducting a family education work. Awareness is carried out among Hindu, Christian and Muslim communities. Sister Lucy founded “Maher” in the early 1990s and in 1997 the first Maher house was opened in the village of Vadhu Budruk, on the outskirts of Pune. In February 2017, Sister Lucy also founded the “Association for Service to Humanity and Nature, an interreligious group that involves volunteers from different faith communities, on values of promoting human dignity and the emancipation of women.

Agenzia Fides

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India News Brief

18 September 2020

COVID-19 Cases:5,118,2553  Deaths: 83,198

COVID-19 At a Glance 

The new guidelines issued by the Indian Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) on 29 August

Metro rail will be allowed to operate with effect from 7thSeptember 2020 in a graded manner, by the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs (MOHUA)/ Ministry of Railways (MOR), in consultation with MHA. In this regard, Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) will be issued by MOHUA.

Social/ academic/ sports/ entertainment/ cultural/ religious/ political functions and other congregations will be permitted with a ceiling of 101 persons, with effect from 21st September 2020. However, such limited gatherings can be held with mandatory wearing of face masks, social distancing, provision for thermal scanning and hand wash or sanitizer.Open air theatres will be permitted to open with effect from 21stSeptember 2020.

Schools, colleges, educational and coaching institutions will continue to remain closed for students and regular class activity up to 30 September.
Online/distance learning shall continue to be permitted and shall be encouraged. However, following will be permitted, in areas outside the Containment Zones only, with effect from 21stSeptember 2020 for which, SOP will be issued by the Ministry of Health & Family Welfare (MoHFW):

Cinema halls, swimming pools, entertainment parks, theatres (excluding open air theatre) and similar places remain closed.

According to MHA directive, lockdown shall continue to be implemented strictly in the Containment Zones till 30th September, 2020.

COVID-19: Highlights 

Religious Places Visit: No Touching of Deity, No Sparkling of Holy Water No Prasada in Temples Wearing Mask Thermal Screening is a must 

Shopping Malls Visit: Elderly People With 65 Years of Age and Children Below 10 Years Are Advised to Stay at Home.

Restaurant and food courts in malls to operate at 50 per cent seating capacity with a mandatory distance of six feet between tables. No common prayer mats, physical offerings like prasad, or sprinkling of holy water, in places of worship. Age and health-based restrictions on stepping out of home. Masks to be mandatory, and the Aarogya Setu app 'recommended' for all.

Use of masks, thermal screening, social distancing and sanitisation, the guidelines  require people above 65 years of age, specially  people with comorbidities, pregnant woman, and children below the age of 10 years, to stay at home. Masks are mandatory at all times, including inside restaurants

Standard Operating Procedures issued by the Indian Health Ministry 

  • International air travel, Metro rail services not allowed 

Cinema halls, gymnasiums, swimming pools, entertainment parks, theatres, bars and auditoriums, assembly halls and similar places; and, social/ political/ sports/ entertainment/ academic/ cultural/ religious functions/ and other large congregations will not allowed..

According to MHA guidelines, in Phase II, schools, colleges, educational/ training/ coaching institutions etc., will be opened after consultations with States and Union Territories.

There shall be no restriction on inter-State and intra-State movement of persons and goods. No separate permission or approval or e-permit will be required for such movement

But  states have the freedom to decide on public movement.

How to identify Fake News or Messeges on Social Media 

Beware of Fake News and Fake Messages on Social Media

Always follow websites or social media platforms of traditional media outlets whether newspapers, magazines,Television News Channels or Radio Stations and authentic online only media outlets.They still maintain journalism excellence and stress on reportorial talent.On the other hand, fake news websites run by people with non journalism background and promote their own ideology with fake news and disinformations and obviously conspiracy theories.

But unfortunately mainstream media also manipulates news to establish their story angle.There were various instances when News papers and TV Channels promoted fake news/conspiracy theories in the form of out of context or manipulated pictures/videos and distorted informations.

Always check the URL of any website.Some fake news websites look like the orginal and popular one the same layout,Logo but if you check the URL you may find extra words like if the orginal website's URL is www.xxx.com the duplicate one might be www.xxx.com.co or something like that so first check the URL for authentic informations.

Check whether photos are original or photoshopped.Check Google images for authenticity.You can find help from Google Reverse Images search.

Check the news sources from other websites whether they picked up the story or not.

Whether the website layout is little bit clumsy and obviously grammatical mistakes and spelling mistakes and excessive use of Sex related and sensational and hate stories.Because sex and hate sells.

Follow official websites relating to COVID-19

WHO Clarifies the disinformation about the virus:
COVID-19 virus can be transmitted in areas with hot and humid climates
Cold Weather and Snow can not kill the new coronavirus
Taking a Hot Bath Does Not Prevent COVID-19
COVID-19 Can not be transmitted through mosquito bites

Spraying alcohol or chlorine all over your body will not kill viruses that have already entered your body. Spraying such substances can be harmful to clothes or mucous membranes (i.e. eyes, mouth)

According to World Health Organization (WHO): Regularly and thoroughly clean your hands with an alcohol-based hand rub or wash them with soap and water

Maintain at least 1 metre (3 feet) distance between yourself and anyone who is coughing or sneezing.

Avoid touching eyes, nose and mouth . If you have fever, cough and difficulty breathing, seek medical care early

Stay at home if you begin to feel unwell, even with mild symptoms such as headache and slight runny nose, until you recover.

If you develop fever, cough and difficulty breathing, seek medical advice promptly as this may be due to a respiratory infection or other serious condition

Follow WHO guidelines

www.who.int

When you follow COVID-19 related news and messages from social media then check and recheck it before consuming it.Follow journalism mantra: if your mother says she loves you, check it out.

Most of the messages or informations quote different organizations like WHO, UNICEF, UNDP,Cambridge University  or other well known institutes,organizations or individual to authenticate the messeges.Check official websites of these organizations  if stories are repeated there

Forwarding messages from unknown sources or little known sources, it would be better to ignore it.

Check whether any logo like UNICEF or WHO or other organizations used in the messages which look similar to original logo.

These type of messages are full of Grammatical mistakes and spelling mistakes which are quite uncommon in original messages.

Don't rely on viral social media messages such as Coronavirus Infected Indian Currencies of Rs.500 and Rs.2,000 Notes Found, Muslim Man Spit in Food At Indian Restaurant.....Always Check Authentic Sources.

Some fake messages pretend to be real one like unofficial Twitter handle of international media organizations like BBC,CNN,Washinton Post, New York Times-check the official Twitter handles of media outlets.

You can identify fake messages if the message requests you to share it.

Beware of Fake News or Fake Photos/Videos Relating to Communal Hatred

Always check the fact checking sites if you have some doubts about the authenticity of any information or picture.

www.boomlive.in

www.altnews.in

https://check4spam.com

https://smhoaxslayer.com

www.factchecker.in

www.allsides.com

www.factcheck.org

www.newsbusters.org

www.politifact.com

www.snopes.com

www.propublica.org

The Same Method Applies to You Tube Videos Check the Source the credibility of the Source.To Check Fake You Tube Videos Check and Recheck the sources. Does the person have the legal right to the video posted? Did that person capture the video? Whether it has been altered?

But due to advancement of technology we can not really wipe out fake news.According to experts advent of  Artificial Intelligence(AI) some companies small or big one developing  technologies that can  lay digitally created script to anybody's voice  even words,sentences never said by the person.Even they a.re developing a technology which can create fake video footage,images,audios like originals.So be cautious! Rumour-mongers are active everywhere whether in physical world or cyber world.

For any further information relating to fake news and how-to search authentic informations from the internet write to us info@crimeandmoreworld.com or Whats App:+919073399779

COVID-19 Related Conspiracy Theories:
https://fsi.stanford.edu/news/china-covid19

 

 

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