ISLAMABAD- Violence against children remains culturally entrenched, as children in Pakistan have to cope with physical violence, sexual abuse, trafficking, recruitment in armed conflict, and acid attacks.
During the first 10 months of 2012, about 5,659 cases of violence against children were reported, says a report. The report 'State of Pakistan's Children 2012' provides a systematic overview of annual developments in various sectors that are relevant to children including child rights, education, health, violence against children, administration of juvenile justice and child labour. The annual report was launched by Society for the Protection of the Rights of the Child (SPARC) on Tuesday.
The 2012 report provides a dismal account of the deteriorating state of child rights in Pakistan. It reveals that in 2012, around 5,659 cases of violence against children were reported from across Pakistan from January to October 2012. These included 943 murders, 1,170 injuries, 302 cases of sodomy, 204 cases of child trafficking, 410 forced marriages, 164 Karo Kari incidents, and 260 cases of missing children. Other incidents of violence included 407 cases of sexual assault, 547 torture cases, 323 child suicides, 530 kidnappings and 176 Vani cases.
In the absence of a national database on violence against children, the report relies on secondary sources to give the prevalence of various forms of violence against children. According to the report a total of 3,861 cases of child sexual abuse (CSA) were reported from different parts of the country in 2012. These included 2,788 cases reported in newspapers, 20 cases reported directly to Sahil, 22 cases reported by Rozan, and 1,031 incidents reported by Lawyers for Human Rights and Legal Aid (LHRLA) helpline. Of the 2,788 cases reported in newspapers, 1,450 (52 per cent of the total) cases occurred in rural areas while 1,338 (48pc) cases were reported from urban areas. The majority of the cases was reported from Punjab (68pc), followed by Sindh (19pc), KP (5 pc), Balochistan (3pc) and Fata (3pc).
The report stressed the need to pass all pending legislation on child protection. This includes the Prohibition of Corporal Punishment Bill 2013, the Criminal Law Amendment Bill 2013 and the Child Marriage Restraint (Amendment) Act 2009. It is also imperative that the provinces enact relevant child protection legislation after the 18th Amendment.
It says the number of juveniles detained in prisons decreased from 1,421 in 2011 to 1,398 in 2012. The detainees included 1,219 under trial and 179 convicted juveniles. In 2012, Punjab had the highest number of juvenile offenders (815), followed by Sindh (303), KP (233) and Balochistan (47).
“Pakistan lacks adequate facilities to deal with children who come in conflict with the law”. The report also lamented 12 years after the promulgation of the Juvenile Justice System Ordinance (JJSO) 2000, there is ineffective implementation of the law as children are denied bail, kept with adult prisoners and produced in fetters and handcuffs before the court.