Children become easy prey as lawlessness grows

Karachi: Growing lawlessness in the country and weak role of police and law enforcers have resulted in spike in the cases violence against children in Pakistan, as 1113 children were murdered and 1374 injured alone in the year 2012, said human rights attorney Zia Ahmed Awan.

The government agencies have failed to provide security to people and the lack of the rule of law has further aggravated the human rights situation in the country, he said adding children being the most vulnerable section of society are paying a high price, as all types of crimes and violence against them are on sharp rise.

Awan, who is also president of Lawyers of Human Rights and Legal Aid (LHRLA) and founder of Madadgaar National Helpline said their database shows that from January to December 2012, as many as 6444 cases of violence against children were reported by mainstream media in Pakistan.

He said during their period 1113 children were murdered, 582 kidnapped, 246 sodomized, 455 sexually assaulted, 330 raped and 235 trafficked. He said 476 cases of forced marriages, 188 of Karo-kari, 582 of torture, 195 of Vani were reported, and while 355 children committed suicide.

He said 1374 children were injured. Out of total cases of violence against children there were 3682 boys and 2762 victim of child abuse. He said of these cases, as many as 2947 cases were reported in Punjab, 1818 in Sindh, 1073 in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa and 606 in Balochistan.

He said Pakistan is amongst the countries where the rights of children are taken as granted. There are millions of children engaged in force labor, as the State has failed to provide education, healthcare and social security cover to them. He said the Pakistan is the world’s second largest countries in the terms of out of school children.

He said due to growing joblessness and food inflation, countless families are forced to send their children to work instead of sending them to schools. He said in the rural areas of Sindh and Balochistan the situation of malnutrition amongst the children in worse them Ethiopia and other such poorest African countries. He said due to rampant corruption of rulers and budgetary funds go to the personal coffers of corrupt politicians instead of being spent on the welfare of people, especially children.

He said we cannot save children from violence and crime unless we work for the rule of law and constitution. He said the State should be compelled to implement the constitutional guarantees of safeguarding the basic rights of people including women and children.

He said universal primary education and healthcare cover to children is a must, while other social security mechanisms at the State level should be made available for children. He said unless the national economy is boosted through availability of adequate electricity and gas to industry and improving law and order situation and new job opportunities created for the army of unemployed masses, the poor families continue to send their children to work instead of enrolling them in schools.

Zia asked the government and civil society to take a serious notice of growing violence against children and devise practical and workable solutions to ensure the safeguard of their rights. He urged the political parties, parliamentarians, media and academia to play their due role in this regard so to contain the crimes against children on one hand and improve the soft image of Pakistan on the other.

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