Child protection

There are a plethora of laws on statute books aimed at protecting children but there is little implementation of them

February 04, 2021

There are a plethora of laws on the statute books aimed at protecting children but there is little implementation of them. The Sindh government has made a number of laws in this regard but despite this, incidents of child abuse like their kidnapping and murder are on the rise .The Sindh Child Protection Authority Act was passed in 2011 but it was not notified until 2015. Now the provincial government has realised that this enactment has proved inadequate to serve the purpose as evidenced by the ground realities. The government has decided to introduce an amendment to the law to make it functional.

As a result of slack enforcement of the law, over the past four years, 250 boys and 100 girls have been subjected to various kinds of abuse in the province. The situation might be attributed to the laid-back attitude of the government. The Child Protection Authority’s performance is a sad tale of failure. Not a single child protection unit has been set up at the district level, the authority remains without child protection officers who are supposed to pursue cases of child abuse. Every year, Rs2 million are earmarked for the SCPA, but this budgetary allocation has lapsed due to reported lack of manpower and other requirements. Favouritism has also played a significant role in making the SCPA ineffective as a majority of the officers who are to deal with issues of child abuse are from one district because of their connection in high places. The SCPA has reportedly not held a single meeting since its inception.

We have adopted the British parliamentary system under which parliament and provincial legislatures are the supreme bodies. It is said about the British Parliament that it can do anything but it cannot make a man a woman and a woman a man. When it comes to making a law to raise their own pay and perks, parliamentarians do the legislation within minutes. Yet our lawmakers complain they are ‘orphans.’ We should see the situation in this context.

Published in The Express Tribune, February 4th, 2021.

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