ISLAMABAD: Pakistan has remained far from meeting its national and international commitments to protect and promote the rights of children, a report launched on Thursday stated.
The report, ‘The state of Pakistan’s children 2015’, was launched by the Society for the Protection of the Rights of the Child (Sparc). It stated that 10 cases of child sexual abuse took place every day in 2015, bringing the total to 3,768 cases in the last year.
The researchers, Marium Soomro, Zohair Waheed and Fatima Raja, presented the findings and highlighted how far Pakistan was from meeting its national and international commitments.
Highlighting cases of child marriages, the report said approximately 21pc of girls were married before the age of 18.
The report said due to a lack of an up-to-date database, the state had failed to formulate policies and legislation that would work towards eliminating child labour.
Govt has failed to formulate policies and legislation to eliminate child labour
Citing the International Labour Organisation’s fact sheet on South Asia 2015, the report stated that there were 3.4 million child labourers in Pakistan. It said as many as 41pc of children who were engaged in child labour were working under hazardous conditions. The report added that child labour prevailed in many forms, and with the formal sector shrinking and informal sector growing children were seen taking up new occupations.
The research also identified the increasing prevalence of violence against children by presenting statistics on child marriages, honour killings, child sexual abuse and so on.
The report quoted various national and international sources to reveal that 25 million children between five and 16 are out of school, of which 13 million are girls. The situation is compounded by the lack of infrastructure and teaching staff, as well as poor teaching standards in public schools.
With regards to child health, 54 cases of polio were reported from various parts of the country, compared to 269 from the previous years.
However, children in Tharparkar in Sindh, are still dying of acute malnutrition, starvation and a lack of basic healthcare – the death toll of children had reached 143 by the end of 2015.
PML-N MNA Zahra Wadood Fatemi and the Canadian high commissioner, Heather Cruden, also spoke at the event.
Published in Dawn, April 22nd, 2016