‘2.5 million street children await govt help’

SPARC calls for enforcing child protection laws for better future


Our Correspondent April 13, 2021
Children attend a class at a school in Islamabad. PHOTO: AFP/FILE

ISLAMABAD:

The Society for the Protection of the Rights of the Child (SPARC) on Monday observed International Street Children Day with the theme ‘Every Child Deserves Every Right’ The objective of the activity was to give voice to more than two million street children in Pakistan and create awareness about their deleterious state.

Highlighting the day’s significance, SPARC Programme Manager Khalil Ahmed Dogar, said globally, around 28 million children, are homeless due to ongoing conflicts and account for almost half of the refugee population. Despite near-universal adaptation of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, there is a considerable lack of effort and action internationally and at the national level in addressing the plight of street children. He said more than 2.5 million street children faced a bleak future in Pakistan.

Almost half of the children, 56 per cent, run away from home due to domestic violence, 22 per cent are out-ofschool or other educational facilities and 22 per cent are working to support the family, he added. He said Pakistan needs to follow four steps of the United Nations General Treaty on street children: commit to equality, protect every child, provide access to services and create specialised solutions. He added that these are fundamental measures for formulating policies and creating multi-prong institutional responses in tackling the issue.  

On the occasion, representatives of the Child Rights Club held an interactive chat with journalists. They said all children have special rights which need to be accepted and honoured. Besides parents, all governments and state institutions have a duty to create a childfriendly environment and promote children's rights to ensure mankind’s bright future. They said Pakistan ratified the Convention on the Rights of the Child on November 12, 1990 and successive governments have renewed their commitment to creating a favourable environment for Pakistani children.

Unfortunately, huge challenges still remain. The laws regarding child education, health, nutrition, juvenile justice, violence, neglect, labour and marriage have not been fully implemented, they said.

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