‘Help bring the missing children home’

LHRLA President urged the government, civil society as well as the media to “help bring the missing children home”.

Ppi August 13, 2010

KARACHI: Special windows should be established at police stations and government departments where cases of children who have gone missing can be reported, Lawyers for Human Rights and Legal Aid (LHRLA) president Zia Ahmed Awan said on Wednesday.

Addressing a joint press conference with deputy superintendent of police (DSP) Muhammed Nawaz Ranjha at the Preedy police station, Awan urged the government, civil society as well as the media to “help bring the missing children home”.

He added that the number of such cases rises sharply after natural disasters.

“We have witnessed this after the earthquake in the Azad Jammu and Kashmir and Northern Areas in 2005, as well as during the ongoing rains and floods, which have displaced millions of people, including women and children,” Awan went on to explain.

According to the Madadgaar database records, as many as 10,511 children went missing between 2000 and July 2010, out of which 208 children went missing during the first six months of the current year, said the LHRLA president, who added that out of the total number of children, 150 were boys and 58 were girls.

Out of the many number of children who go missing, some are abducted by strangers, acquaintances, friends and relatives, some run away from their homes while others just simply get lost, either because they wander away or because of a lack of awareness of their surroundings, Ranjha said, adding that greater efforts need to be made to prevent this from happening.

“We request parents, teachers and communities to take greater measures for the safety of children,” said Ranjha. He added that “cases of missing children are increasing at an alarming rate in our society, which should be the cause of concern for the government as well as the civil society.”

This is a sensitive human rights issue and serious efforts are needed to ensure the safety of our children, said Awan, who added that parents, foster parents, guardians and children themselves need to be made aware of this issue so that they can identify situations that put children at risk.

Published in The  Express Tribune, August 13th, 2010.


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