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Celebrating Universal Children’s Rights Day

By: Munir Moosa Sewani

INTERNATIONAL Children’s Rights Day is celebrated throughout the world on Nov

20. On this momentous day, the world adopted the Convention on the Rights of Child,
passed by the UN General Assembly in 1989. It reminds us about the unanimous decision
taken by the world leaders to protect children against vulnerability.

Children are similar to flower, which fill color in our lives. But unfortunately, the world
seems to be unconscious and have forgotten their duties and responsibilities towards
children. By looking at the dismal state of children in most of the parts of the world, one
can easily predict that the children right convention served nothing else than a piece of
decorated paper, rather legal document.

In 1990, Pakistan was one of the first countries to ratify the Convention on Children's
Rights to ensure children access to basic rights. Appallingly, Pakistan was also the first
country to forget her duties towards children.

Children do have certain universal rights, which are respected and universally accepted
by many countries; but in our country, children are brutally treated. Regrettably, rather
providing protection to the rights of children, we have provided them taboo of rape,
sodomize, corporal punishment, beggary, child abuse, child labor, early marriages,
prostitution, etc.

Recalling the fresh memory, how can we overshadow the brutal killing of two innocent
brothers in Sialkot? How can we forget the scars of many innocent children, who were
raped and later threatened to zip their mouth? How can we conceal the desires of
innocent girls of tribal areas, whose dreams were snatched by demolishing their schools?
Aren’t these inhumane acts?

Government, NGOs and civil societies are spending millions of rupees to celebrate this
day by organizing conferences or walk; but whenever, any child cries, they are the one,
who ran away from the front door or just console children temporary to gain attention of
media and donor agencies. NGOs also attend international conferences to divert the
attention of International agencies by providing them wrong data.

It is documented by the NGOs that Pakistan tried to implement the provisions, and took
many administrative, judicial and legislative measures to prioritize sensitive areas of
concern which cause impediment in children's development. If that is true, why are the
children of our country yet found in the worst condition and why the situation is
escalating day by day?

We are living in a country where there is no guarantee of security and implementation of

law and order, no expectations from the government to work for the welfare of children.

According to the recent reports, child abuse is not only a widely practices phenomenon
in Pakistan despite its Islamic antecedents but also on the rise, However, rarely is the
problem addressed since the topic is socially and culturally taboo, and there is an
incorrect impression that the problem doest not exist. The problems in the sphere of
juvenile justice in Pakistan are manifold and often complex; and all are important from a
children rights standpoint.

. Children’s education in Pakistan is in a dismal state. Inadequacies of

education system in terms of weak infrastructure, poor quality teaching,

lack of qualified teachers, teacher absenteeism, corporal punishment and

emotional, verbal abuse, strict conditions and lack of learning

materials pushes children out of school.

Corporal Punishment is prohibited in the government schools of Sindh

since 2004. Despite all these measures, physical violence, government,

and private schools are widely prevalent and institutions have failed to

bring about a major change in banning the practice. 52

This bleak situation is mainly due to a lack of vision and the lopsided
policies and priorities of the people at the helms of affairs. 53

Researcher observed that NGOs like SPARC, HRCP, The Citizen Foundation,

SOS Village, Human Right Education Program, Sahil and Rozan are working

on child labor, child sexual abuse, education rights, safety and

protection rights, child trafficking, etc., but there is a dearth need

to evaluate their outcomes, in order to find, how much more

organizations are required to be established to work for children

rights, and which areas require more attention of NGO’s and government

to work on.
Researcher believes that the education, social and the protection rights

are the foremost important issues, which needs a serious consideration.

Education can contributes a lot to empower and enlighten children's

lives and in breaking the barriers of poverty, discrimination, and

provides opportunities to its younger generation to strive for better

times ahead. Children need secure and healthy environment. Their voices

must be heard and trusted and every possible step must be taken to

provide them safety. They must be taught their basic rights right from

the day, they start understanding things, so that their joint coalition

to work can fruitfully bring joys in many lives.

. It was really an eye opener researched based documentary, which

highlighted a very sensitive issue of child prostitution and child

abuse. This issue is barely touched in Pakistan. I was so traumatized

when saw many children engaged in prostitution. The program highlighted

the bloating rate of poverty, which has forced the children to involve
in such unhealthy business. The documentary divulges that the people of

Pakistan are exploiting children by mis-using them. This attitude shows

the tolerance of our society. The majority of these children are those

who run away from homes. It is a fact that Poverty is one big factor due

to which the young boys and girls are inducted in prostitution. As a

result these innocent buds are brutally scratched.

Even in the presence of NGO's and concerned departments of government,

no action has ever been taken place to ensure child protection in

Pakistan. All the claims of government fell flat by watching a very true

unveiled story.

Sexual Abuse is not projected because of the stigma, especially in

children, who will be permanently rejected by the society and even by

her own kith and kin. Moreover it has been projected as on the rise,

from the few research reports published in Pakistan in this connection.

Pakistan is one of the largest Muslim countries in the world and she

always advocates the rights of Children. In Pakistan, there are no laws

that deal specifically with the abuse of children/ child trafficking or

sexual abuse. There are only provisions regarding rape and Sexual abuse

is a punishable offence. The Pakistan Penal Code provisions used to

prosecute sexual abusers directly are rape and sodomy. Once again, a

heartiest congratulation to Dawn TV for showing their concern for social

Ironically, the concerned ministries are over shadowing issues of

corporal punishments, by fabricating it with many false statements. Not

only this, but many a times, institutions compensate the bearers, asking

them to zip their lips. It clearly shows that our children are not in

safe hands.