20 Nov 2022

World Day for Prevention of Child Abuse commemorated

Islamabad : As the world commemorates ‘World Day for the Prevention of Child Abuse’, the civil society in Pakistan demanded the implementation of laws and strengthening of protection mechanisms to save children from abuse.

They said that in the statements issued to highlight gaps in the protection of children on the occasion of World Day for the Prevention of Child Abuse which falls on November 19. The world also celebrates Universal Children's Day on November 20. “The Day is not all about giving gifts to children and organising events for them. It is a day to realize their importance in nation-building and provide them the opportunity to open their wings and fly high to achieve their goals,” said Rabeea Hadi, Director General of Child Protection Institute, Islamabad.

She further said that it is the duty of all responsible people including parents and relevant institutions to provide quality education to their children and ensure that they enjoy good health. “Every country must empower their young minds as they are the future generation and the development of the country depends on them.” Rabeea appreciated the Federal Minister for Human Rights and Capital Development Authority (CDA) for their efforts in allotment of the plot for the construction Child Protection Institute in Islamabad close. The plot got approved in a recent board meeting. Earlier, the institute was located in Humak and was not according to international standards that require the presence of basic facilities like good hospitals, schools, courts, etc in the close vicinity of such institute.

The Chairperson of the National Commission on the Rights of Child (NCRC), Afshan Tehseen, in her statement, said that child abuse is a grave violation of children's rights and one of the greatest threats to children's life, survival, development, and participation rights.

She said that ensuring children's rights was particularly important because Pakistan had a unique window of opportunity where the "youth" could truly determine Pakistan's future. “But the rising number of child abuse cases is a matter of serious concern. The time to act is now - by strengthening child rights protection mechanisms and legislation, as well as through massive public awareness campaigns.” The statement says that the Commission has established a complaint mechanism has analysed various child rights violations in Pakistan and issued policy briefs on street children, child marriages, forced conversion, child domestic labour, the juvenile justice system, etc.

Syed Kausar Abbas, Executive Director Sustainable Social Development Organization (SSDO) and the national secretariat of the Children Rights Movement (CRM) said that the theme for International children’s day is, “Inclusion, for every child”. This theme means that every child belonging to any society, community or nationality is entitled to equal rights. It also emphasises the eradication of discrimination among children of various civilizations.

He said that SSDO and CRM strongly believe in an inclusive approach. Children from minorities, people with disability, and children from depressed communities must be taken on board in policies and legislative reforms.

In Pakistan, children are at risk of various forms and types of abuse, including child labour, corporal punishment, child sexual abuse, harmful traditions including child marriages, etc. While child marriage affects both boys and girls, girls are significantly more likely to be affected in Pakistan.

The Demographic Health Survey 2017-2018 found that 29% of women were married before the age of 18, compared to 5% of men. In Pakistan, more than 12.5 million children or nearly 16% of the child population are involved in child labour in Pakistan, with 13% to 14% of these children being between 5 and 15 years old. Although the number of child marriages in Pakistan has decreased significantly over the last three decades, this practice remains a major problem throughout the country. Violent discipline continues to be a widespread problem across the country. According to the 2017-2018 MICS Survey on Violent Discipline in Punjab, 81% of children aged upto14 years have experienced some form of physical violence and 74% have experienced some form of psychological violence in the past few months, Mentions the statement issued by NCRC.

News Link: https://www.thenews.com.pk/amp/1011796-world-day-for-prevention-of-child-abuse-commemorated