Lifetime Achievement Awards from NCHR in 2018
The Nordic Committee for Human Rights, with their office in Gothenburg, Sweden, a committee working against the abuses of the CPS in the Nordic countries, have for 2018 appointed Suranya Aiyar in New Delhi as the recipient of their Lifetime Achievement Award for 2018.
The several awardees are presented in the same overview.
Suranya Aiyar writes:
"Dear all, friends and family,
I have some good news. I have been awarded 2018 Laureate by The Nordic Human Rights Committee (NHRC) "for outstanding bravery, compassion and humanitarian engagement, not only for Indian children and families in Norway but also for children in their home country and internationally." The NHRC is headquartered in Sweden and advocates against the state-sponsored removal of children from their families without just cause. I think I am the first person from a developing country to be given this award.
This endorsement from people abroad of my work criticising their own systems means a lot to me. At the same time, it breaks my heart to think of all the innocent parents and children who remain torn apart by the vindictive and authoritarian machine that child protection has become in the West. My work, of asking for families to be protected against unfair and arbitrary state-sponsored separation, should never have been necessary. I hope this award will encourage my fellow Indians, especially those in the child rights field, to question the system of child protection services (CPS) which has created so much suffering in the West and which is being implemented today in India. We need a different approach that will be better at identifying children who are really abused and guard against unjust and biased abuse allegations. Please join the fight against CPS. I cannot do this alone. We need professionals from the child development, human rights and foreign relations sector to take this up in an organised way.
I want to end with thanking Prof Marianne Skanland, Mrs Brinda Karat, former MP and Dr Madhav Nalapat for their invaluable support to this cause. Prof. Marianne Skanland of Norway who has been advocating for reform of Norwegian CPS since the early 1990s has been has been an invaluable friend and guide from across the seas in this field. It was Mrs Karat who brought this issue to public attention with the Bhattacharya case. It was she who mobilized the Indian government to intervene. Were it not for her courageous and strident efforts, the Bhattacharya children would have never been restored to their family and we in India may never have learnt of CPS. Dr Madhav Nalapat generously gave space to this cause in The Sunday Guardian. For the last year, every week, the Sunday Guardian has carried reports and analysis from commentators around the world on this issue in the column Global Child Rights and Wrongs. A big thank you to Dr John Dayal, Dr. Nandita Chaudhary, Dr Madhu Kishwar, Dr Ashis Nandy, Dr Shiv Visvanathan, Dr. Seshadri Chari, Justice Mukul Mudgal, Justice AP Shah, Supreme Court lawyer Nandita Rao, Senior Counsel Sidharth Luthra (who was very generously on the phone with me when I was arrested (alone and for the first time in my life!) for peacefully demonstrating outside the Norwegian Embassy in November 2015), former NCPCR member Vinod Tikoo, the All India Democratic Women's Association (AIDWA), mental health expert Ratnaboli Roy, activist Kamayani, my husband Uday Walia (for his indispensable moral support and generous, unquestioning and compassionate funding of my activism and my website saveyourchildren.in) and my dear father Mani Shankar Aiyar for their support, advice, activism, interventions and encouragement in bringing this issue to public attention. As you can see, we have a rainbow coalition on this issue. All it now needs is a more organised and concerted effort."