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September 21, 2019

Steps demanded for implementation of guidelines on child rights

National

September 21, 2019

Islamabad: Child Rights Movement (CRM) on Friday held a press conference at National Press Club followed by a protest where a large number of people reminded the decision makers of Pakistan of their due responsibilities towards the protection of children from child sexual abuse in the country.

CRM also demands for establishing specific police units at district level, linking them with hospitals for medico legal facilities and urged government to take tangible steps for the implementation of the National Commission on the Rights of the Child in Islamabad.

Speaking on this occasion, Coordinator CRM Mamtaz Gohar said that, CRM is extremely concerned over the recent horrific cases of child sexual abuse and murder cases surfacing in Kasur.

He said the state has failed to provide safe, secure and protected environment for children. “On the other hand, 30th anniversary of the UNCRC is being observed globally this year. Being party to the CRC the state is under an obligation to provide children with the rights mentioned in the CRC.”

Representative Group Development Pakistan Nayab Ali said that in the wake of the horrific Kasur child sexual abuse scandal in 2016, it appeared that people will never forget the issue and strong comprehensive child protection systems will be put in place, but unfortunately like other human rights issues, the topic could not sustain any significant place in news highlights and thus the contemplations for its eradication became remained a farce.

Kausar Abbas Executive Director SSDO stated that the response by Ministry of Human Rights on the issue is equally concerning. “The official from the ministry has attributed this situation to the delay in passing Zaibab Alert bill towards the Chairman Standing Committee on Human Rights, which actually is not the sole reason for the delay. “The pending Zainab Alert Bill isambiguous, it is actually not in accordance with other relevant laws and also contradicts with articles and clauses from international conventions and treaties on human rights, signed and ratified by Pakistan,” he said.

Executive Director UGOOD Ishtiaq Gillani stated the actual failure in establishing a concerted child protection system in the country is random steps taken by multiple authorities that are short lived, inconsistent and unsustainable. “One example of this is non-responsive or uncommon helplines which are established in the name of child protection but have never benefited its target,” he said.

He added that, in a similar move, the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa government took a misogynist approach in the name of child protection making it mandatory for all school age girls to wear veil. “Did the decision makers not know about the prevalence of sodomy (sexual abuse of boys) in KP?”

She quoted that Sahil Cruel Numbers report clearly shows that during 2018, more boys than girls were sodomized in the age bracket of 6-10 and 11 to 15 years, eventually more boys than girls in this age group were sodomized by gangs. The same report states that around 32 girls were raped and murdered, whereas 31 boys were sodomized and murdered during 2018.

Advocate Imtiaz Ahmed Somra, senior legal officer Sahil stated that that one of the general emotional reaction, that is always immediate and unreliable, is the call for increasing the intensity of punishment for the abuser, which is just a mare expression of anger. “Instead, in the pretext of the existing societal norms, perpetrators, particularly those who are acquaintance or family members request for forgiveness and attain acquittal in such cases.”

Imtiaz added that Sahil Cruel Number Report clearly shows that cases of murder after abuse occur, when the victim recognises the abuser, this is the reason that, today parents in Kasur find body parts of their children in fields, distorted by abusers for purging evidence.

CRM calls upon the government, particularly Chief Minister Punjab to declare child protection emergency in Kasur. The speakers urges the government to focus more on the prevention of child sexual abuse through introducing life skills based education, in the mainstream school curriculum of every education system, ranging from private schools to Madaras and orphanages.

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