KARACHI: Despite having laws for child protection, Sindh fails to implement them in true spirit, said child rights activist Iqbal Detho at a consultation meeting and the launch of an evaluation report on Monday at the Pearl Continental hotel.
The evaluation report on the Community Based Child Protection Mechanism (CBCPM) is sponsored by Plan International (PI) Pakistan and the Sindh government’s social welfare department.
“Section 26 of the Sindh Children Act 1955 mentions remand homes as places where children can take refuge and be given temporary shelter,” according to Detho. He said that if not in each district, then the presence of remand homes should be ensured in every division at least. “Sindh has structural indicators and the gap lies in the process indicator,” he said.
Speaking on the occasion, the PI advocacy manager, Safdar Raza, stressed the need for the provincial government to work on issues of child protection. “Child protection starts from an early age, when a mother guards her child against fire and hazards. Its level changes with time as the child grows up,” he said.
Among the salient features of the report was that child protection issues are more embedded in urban communities while 91 per cent of these CBCPMs are operating in rural communities. In addition, there is a dire need for qualified and trained social workers and the government needs to allocate sufficient budget for child protection.
Shariq Ahmed, secretary of the social welfare department, spoke about how efforts are being made to implement the Sindh Child Protection Act 2011. “Twelve child protection units are already present. We will be working on extending more of them,” he said.
The PI country director, Rashid Javed, said that Sindh needs to work on child protection data as the lack of it creates a hindrance in strategising plans. “Community based child protection mechanisms can only be made effective if the participation of children is ensured. Only children can understand children’s issues,” he said.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 1st, 2015.