Every child has right to live freely

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Every child in Pakistan deserves the opportunity to learn and grow freely, irrespective of his/her caste or class. They have right to nourish in safe and healthy environment. No one can deprive them of their fundamental rights either state or any individual.  November 20 is celebrated as Universal Day for Children all over the world every year. Pakistan seemed to have failed to protect the child rights. Sana Khawaja, the focal person of an NGO, said that around 2.5 billion children were out of schools in the world. They are deprived of education and health facilities as well, she added. Children work at hotels, workshops and other odd places.

According to the constitution of Pakistan, Article 25-A, “The state shall provide free and compulsory education to all children of the age of five to sixteen years.” But the situation on ground is totally different. No policy has been introduced by the government to protect children. Civil society is also concerned that despite visible incidents of violence against children, the provincial governments still could not introduce child protection policies followed by a comprehensive plan of action to ensure protection to children from all forms of abuse and exploitation, said by Iftikhar Mubarik, a children rights activist.

He added that the newly pledged Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) especially the 16.2 clearly asked the governments to take all possible legislative, administrative and other measures to end abuse, exploitation, trafficking and all forms of violence against children. In addition, SDG 8.7 stresses to take immediate and effective measures to eradicate forced labour, end modern slavery and human trafficking and secure the prohibition and elimination of the worst forms of child labour, including recruitment and use of child soldiers, and by 2025 end child labour in all its forms. Iftikhar demanded that provincial governments include the child domestic labour on the list of hazardous occupation, and put a complete ban on this contemporary form of slavery.

Salman Abid, a human rights activist, said Pakistan sanctioned the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Child (UNCRC) 26 year back, but the serious attention was not paid by federal and provincial governments. He demanded the government of Pakistan take immediate action regarding  ‘The National Commission on the Rights of Children bill’ which was introduced in National Assembly back in March 2015. This bill is still pending with National Assembly’s Standing Committee on Law and Justice. He urged the federal government to accelerate the process of enactment of legislation that protected the rights of children, and set up a sovereign commission on the rights of children.

Waheed Akhtar Ansari, director general, Social Welfare Punjab, rejected the allegations leveled by human rights activists. “It is myth now that government departments have not been working for the betterment of children. Government owns all the children of state and is busy protecting the children from violence and abuse,” he asserted.

According to him, the department has finalised the draft of Child Rights Commission (CRC). The draft has been sent to the federal government for its approval. Awareness of rights is very important for all citizens. By this commission, people and children will be educated and made aware of their rights. He said, “United Nations International Children Emergency Fund (UNICEF) is extending help to our all care centres on different levels, including recreational, educational, professional training and vocational. NGOs and civil society both are playing nice role in the protection of children rights, he said.

Ref:https://www.thenews.com.pk/print/166417-Every-child-has-right-to-live-freely

Protecting Children’s Rights

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Children are the future pillars of our nation. They are tomorrow’s politicians, scientists, doctors, architectures and teachers.They are innocent, admirable, and pure and loved by everyone. To increase the awareness of people towards the rights, care and education of childrenthe date of 20th November has been set to celebrate Universal Children’s Day all over the world.

Universal Children’s Day is celebrated every year with a lot of organized programmes including cultural and fun activities in many countries. Government and non-government organisations, schools, and private bodies conducts variety of competitionsas well as events for the children to let them know about their rights and make them happy and cheer.

History of the day:

It was the year 1954, when the General Assembly of the United Nations was first announced Universal Children’s Day to encourage children of all races, creeds and religions to spend time together, getting to know each other and appreciating each other’s differences, and to prompt governments world-wide to pay more attention to the welfare of their youngest citizens.

Three years later, on 20th November 1959 the United Nations General Assemblyadopted the ‘Declaration’ of the Rights of the Child. The 20th November is also a date when in 1989 the UN General Assembly adopted the ‘Convention’ on the Rights of the Child. Since 1990, Universal Children’s Day is celebrated as the anniversary of the date that the UN General Assembly adopted both the declaration and the convention on children’s rights.

Fundamental rights of children:

Protection:

Every child has right to feel safe regardless of his social value, and culture affinity. Every child should be protected from violence, abuse and neglect, exploitation and violence. Unfortunately in many countries including Pakistan child abuse takes place at home, in school, in institutions, at work, in the community, in armed conflict and natural disasters.

Children have right to live with prosperity, and should be protected from human trafficking. No child should be punished, humiliates, or insulted by adults.

The UNICEF defines child labour as some type of work performed by children below the age of 18. They should be protected from labour to earn money. Child labourcauses mental, physical, moral, and social harm.They should be nourished and cared very attentively especially by their parents. They should be given full time to enjoy their childhood and study in school. And, it is possible only when we protect them from child labour.

Education:

Every child has a right to get quality education, which helps him to develop his personality, talent, mental and physical abilities. All children must be able to go to school, and thereby benefit from the same opportunities for a secured future.

Education is a powerful tool to get rid of poverty. It ensures child survival, better growth, and development. Equal opportunity of education ends the social inequality. On average, one additional year of education can increase an individual’s earnings by 10 percent. Furthermore, girls’ education is particularly important for future generations. Better-educated women tend to be healthier than uneducated women.

Children who are disabled, either mentally or physically, have a right to special care and education so they can lead full and independent live.

Freedom of opinion:

All children have a right to be able to give their opinion when adults are making decisions about them. Parents should take child’s opinion seriously. It is their right to say what they think through speaking, writing, drawing etc. All children have a right to get information from TV, radio, newspapers and the internet, which should be appropriate of their age. It is parent’s responsibility to help children learn what is right and wrong.

Health and food:

All children have a right to good health and good quality health care. All children should have clean water, nutritious food and a clean environment so they stay healthy.All children have a right to a decent standard of living. It is the responsibility of government to support families who cannot afford to provide a decent standard of living for their children.

Violation against children rights:

Children around the world are facing poverty, disease, inequity,and mistreatment every day. Many are unable to get primary education. Millions are displayed from their native countries and many have been separated from their parents.According to the estimate of the International Labor Organisation (ILO), around 246 million children aged 5 to17 years are engaged in child labour around the globe and of these 179 million are employed in the most rigorous forms of labour.

In Pakistan, violation of children’s rights is common and many cases remain unnotified. Children are subjected to torture in work places and educational institutions, sexual exploitation and abuse in urban areas in general and the rural areas of Pakistan in particular.

“Many children never see the inside of a classroom. Others drop out because their classes are overcrowded or their teachers poorly trained.”

In Pakistan, one child in six dies before the age of five. The nutritional status of children is very poor: 35% of them are underweight; more than 50% suffer from stunted growth, and around 9% from emaciation. Each day, around 1,100 Pakistani children less than five years old die from diarrhea and illnesses related to water, sanitation, and hygiene.

There are around 11 million children performing domestic tasks and working in agriculture. Other children work in the textile industry (specifically, making carpets), construction, or even the automotive industry. Children in carpet factories sometimes work up to 20 hours a day, 7 days a week. Very often, sleeping, eating, and working are all done in the same place.

It is believed that only 20% of sexual abuse cases are reported in Pakistan. We can make lasting change in a child’s life by helping provide nutrition and health, childhood development and education. Parents need to be aware about the importance of both, children and their childhood. They must understand about the importance of education in their children’s life and their role in the nation’s development.

Ref: http://www.brecorder.com/weekend-magazine/0/104630/

PM wants to make child-friendly Pakistan

PM wants to make child-friendly Pakistan

Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has urged the federal ministries and provincial governments to sincerely undertake the required legislative, administrative and social sector reforms for creating an enabling environment for children in Pakistan.

“I urge the civil society, NGOs, philanthropists, international development partners, media and corporate sectors to come forward as partners and play an effective role for protection of child rights to make Pakistan a child-friendly country,” the prime minister said that in a message on the occasion of Universal Children’s Day to be observed on Sunday.

The day is celebrated globally to sensitise the world on the crucially important aspect of everyone’s life. He said that Pakistan joined the world community to implement the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) and its provisions in letter and spirit. The UN Convention provides the basic principles for the rights of children.

He said that it was government’s responsibility to ensure children’s rights to survival, development, protection and participation as envisaged in the UNCRC. “It is indeed our national and constitutional duty to protect the best interests of our children. Children are a vulnerable segment of any society and at the same time the most precious investment for ensuring a better future,” he said.

He called for reaffirming the commitment for protection of child rights to make children useful and productive citizens. He said that the government has promulgated the Criminal Law (Second Amendment) Act, 2016 with regard to Child Abuse, Child Pornography and enhancing the minimum age of criminal liability.

He said that it was pleasing that Punjab and Sindh provinces had introduced amendments in the Child Marriage Restraint Act, 1929. He mentioned his approval of a National Plan of Action for Human Rights which addressed the issues of child protection, discrimination, labour, education and other measures for their wellbeing.

He also expressed the hope for establishment of an autonomous and independent National Commission for Child Rights in the near future. “We recognise that there are immense challenges in improving on-ground situation for children in Pakistan, but our government is continuously undertaking reforms to cope with these challenges,” he said.

He said that the Ministry of Human Rights was also making efforts for protection and promotion of child rights in collaboration with the relevant stakeholders and practitioners in Pakistan. He appreciated the UN agencies and NGOs for advocating and highlighting the child rights and hoped that they would continue to pursue this important mission with the same zeal and vigour.

Around 0.8m refugees in Pakistan under 18, says UNICEF

“Asian children will continue to confront internal displacement and its attendant dangers each year unless dramatic action is taken to curb climate change, improve urban planning and address disaster-risk reduction,” the report reads.  PHOTO: SHAHBAZ MALIK

One in six Asian migrants is a child, with Pakistan ranking among the top 10 countries hosting child refugees in Asia, according to a United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (Unicef) report.

The report titled ‘Uprooted: The grooming crisis for refugee and migrant children’ revealed that Asia is home to two in five of the world’s child migrants, nine out of 10 refugees from Asia find refuge within Asia. Pakistan is closely followed by Afghanistan, Turkey, Myanmar, India, Azerbaijan and Bangladesh.

More than 19 million people have been internally displaced by conflict in Asia. A total of 1.5 million were displaced in Pakistan as of last year. There were close to 300, 000 refugees originating from Pakistan in 2015. Children accounted for 58 per cent of all Pakistani-origin refugees, the highest proportion in the region.

“Many of the youngest refugees have known only conflict and deprivation in their short lives,” states Unicef executive director Anthony Lake in the report. “If we fail to provide them – and all child refugees and migrants – with opportunities for education and a more normal childhood, how will they be able to contribute positively to their societies? What price will we collectively pay for that failure?”

But if young refugees are accepted and protected today, if they have a chance to learn and grow, and to develop their potential, they can be a source of stability and economic progress, he further states.

The largest number of child migrants live in Saudi Arabia and Jordan. Among the top 10 countries hosting the largest number of international migrants under 18 years, Pakistan ranks fifth with around 0.8 million international migrants under the age of 18 years and some 1.6 million in total.

Conflicts in many Asian countries, high susceptibility to natural hazards and a large population all contribute to the huge toll of internal displacement within Asia.

Around 19.2 million people have been internally displaced by violence in Asia, a staggering 47 per cent of the global total for similar internal displacements.

Protracted conflicts and long-standing political crises are responsible for the situations faced by most of Asia’s refugees. Children make up 48 per cent of all refugees from Asia, including half of all Syrian and Afghan refugees. Children make up 58 per cent of all refuges from Pakistan, the highest proportion in the region.

Child labour

In addition to the many vulnerabilities faced by labour migrants, the age and inexperience of young labour migrants puts them at heightened risk of exploitation and many of the worst forms of child labour.

According to the International Labour Organisation (ILO), the recent national surveys from seven South Asian countries estimate that there are almost 17 million enaged in child labour and 42 million children out of school.

As child migrant labourers are severely disadvantaged by their status, they often end up in the informal sector or working as domestic servants, where it is particularly difficult to monitor and protect their well-being.

An ILO summary of evidence related to child labour makes it clear that working migrant children are the worst affected among these: “amongst child labourers, it is migrant children who receive less pay, work longer hours, attend school less frequently, and face higher death rates at work in comparison to local children.”

“Asian children will continue to confront internal displacement and its attendant dangers each year unless dramatic action is taken to curb climate change, improve urban planning and address disaster-risk reduction,” the report reads.

Ref: http://tribune.com.pk/story/1180323/homeless-abroad-around-0-8m-refugees-pakistan-18-says-unicef/

50% children out of schools

50% children out of schools: minister

KARACHI: Sindh Minister for Social Welfare Shamim Mumtaz said on Monday that half of children population was out of schools in Pakistan, adding that society would be sensitised on child issues so as to ensure protection of child rights enshrined in UN charter.

The minister said that on the occasion of Universal Children Day falling on November 20, here at her office. Social Welfare Secretary Dr Shireen Mustafa, Social Welfare Deputy Director Muhammad Raheem Lakho, Child Welfare Deputy Director Fozia Masoom and others attended the meeting.

Shamim said children are our future and called upon civil society and parents in particular to play their role in protecting children rights and imparting best possible education and training to children to enable them to face the challenges of modern era.

She directed officers to make arrangements for celebrating child week from 14th November in connection with Universal Children Day falling on November 20th adding that seminars, walks, workshops, sports and speech competition should be organised to create awareness on child protection issues at district level throughout province.

In this regard, she said that banners, pamphlets, posters and awareness campaign on print and electronic media should also be initiated. She also directed to select a wall in each district of the province, and children should be asked to pen UN Child protection articles on it.

‘Child sexual abuse cases have increased in Pakistan

ISLAMABAD: During the first six months of 2016, 2,127 incidents of child sexual abuse were reported from across the country, according to data collected from newspapers by the non-governmental organisation Sahil.

According to a report released on Friday, such incidents have increased by 36pc from the same time last year, when 1,565 cases of child sex abuse were reported.

Sahil Programme Officer Media Mumtaz Gohar told Dawn that 86 newspapers from three categories – national, regional and local – and in three languages – English, Urdu and Sindhi – were monitored in order to collect data on violence against children.

“According to the data collected, most of the cases were reported from Punjab, followed by Sindh. Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan remained third and fourth on the list,” he said.

He said that this could also be because many cases were not reported from KP and Balochistan, either because of the tribal system or because journalists in these provinces were reluctant to report on such incidents due to security concerns.

Mr Gohar added that the actual number of child sexual abuse is estimated to be double that reported in the media, as a large number of people do not want them reported.

According to the report, more boys than girls in the age groups 0-5 years and 11-15 years were sexually abused between January and June this year, compared to the same time last year.

However, more girls were abused than boys in the 16-18 year age group, and in 38pc of the cases reported in newspapers the victims’ ages were not mentioned.

Compared to this time last year, cases of gang rape have increased by 71pc, attempted rape by 61pc, ‘sodomy’ by 46pc and rape by 20pc. During the first six months of this year, 97 cases of child marriages have been reported when there were 34 such cases between January and June 2015. Of the cases reported, 946 assault cases were committed by acquaintances and 413 by strangers.

The location of the abuse was not mentioned in 1,079 cases while 318 cases happened at the victim’s home, 276 at an acquaintances’ home, 164 in the fields, 115 in the street, 38 in wooded areas, 30 in havelis, 22 in seminaries, 18 in shops, 16 in schools and 51 in other places including workplaces, marriage halls, hotels and shrines.

The report says that in the first six months of this year, 1,584 cases were registered with the police, and the status of 450 was not mentioned in the newspapers. The police refused to register cases in 82 incidents. Most of the cases were reported from the rural areas, with just 20pc cases being reported in urban parts of the country.

Ref: http://www.dawn.com/news/1278753

Indian teen raped by over hundred men

bbbA minor girl in India has complained of being raped by more than 100 people, including police personnel, over a period of two years.

The 16-year-old managed to escape to New Delhi last month and lodged a complaint, followed by registration of a case against 113 persons and arrest of a 26-year-old woman.

The case is believed to be linked with attempted rape and torture of a model who had escaped to the capital with the minor girl, earlier leading to arrest of four people.

India rape victim says sexually assaulted again in hospital

Those apprehended had been found to have links with a sex racket in the city, as per the case registered.

According to police, one of the accused, identified as Rohit Bhandari, lured the girl into getting her job at a beauty parlour to Pune in January 2014 but forced her into prostitution.

The man also raped and drugged the girl and made her engage in sex with multiple people, moving her to Hyderabad, Ahmedabad and Bhopal.

The victim was later brought to Pune again and kept at a flat from where she escaped with the 24-year-old model and succeeded in reaching New Delhi.

Six found guilty of gang rape, murder in India

“The minor girl’s medical test was conducted in Delhi. She has also given a statement before a metropolitan magistrate,” said senior police inspector in-charge of Vimantal police station, Sanjay Kurundkar.

“We have arrested one accused, who has been remanded in police custody till April 22. We will move an application for custody of the four accused earlier arrested by Chandan Nagar police.”

The article first appeared on The Times of India
http://tribune.com.pk/story/1087199/indian-teen-raped-by-over-hundred-men-including-police-personnel/