KARACHI: Children, being the most vulnerable segment of society, need protection from violence, exploitation and abuse. Lack of implementation of the law is a major hindrance to protecting children’s rights.
Counter-Terrorism Department (CTD) AIG Dr Sanaullah Abbasi said this while speaking to the media at an event organised on Thursday by the Child Rights Movement (CRM) – Sindh, which is a network of more than 88 organisations working for children’s rights.
Millions of children in Sindh suffer from violence, exploitation and abuse of all forms due to poor implementation of the existing laws, Dr Abbasi said. He lamented that there were no shelter homes for street children in the province.
The CTD AIG also bemoaned the fact that funds allocated in last year’s budget for the Sindh Child Protection Authority could not be released and, hence, they lapsed. The authority was to be created under the Sindh Child Protection Authority Act, 2011. There is no call centre to receive complaints regarding child abuse, he said.
AIG Abbasi informed the gathering that the law envisaged the establishment of child protection units, however, they had yet to be established in many districts of the province. He added that in the districts where such units were established, they were not enough resources provided, hence, they could not function as desired by the law.
The officer also diverted the attention of the gathering towards child marriage. Thousands of marriages in Sindh take place without any documentation, he said, adding that if implemented, the Sindh Child Marriage Restraint Act, 2013 could serve as an effective tool to eradicate child marriage. Child marriage is a cognisable offence under the law, which does not recognise free will to marry under 18 years, he said.
Other speakers at the event linked feudal mindset and poor implementation of the law with the miseries faced by children in Sindh. They were of the view that the provincial government had drafted and passed a good law but could not implement it.
CRM-Sindh Secretary Noor Muhammed Bajeer referred to major laws enacted in Pakistan to ensure child welfare. The laws included the Employment of Children Act 1991, Employment of Children Rules 1995, Sindh Child Protection Authority Act 2011, Sindh Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act 2013, Sindh Child Marriage Restraint Act 2013, Protection of Breast-Feeding Rules 2009 and Sindh Protection and Promotion of Breast-Feeding and Child Nutrition Act 2013.