PAKISTAN: Report on State of Pakistan’s Children 2012 launched

Summary: The Society for the Protection of the Rights of the Child on Tuesday launched the annual report ‘The State of Pakistan’s Children 2012’.

[29 May 2013] - 

The launch was attended by civil society representatives, government officials and media personnel. The chief guest for the occasion was Federal Minister Sania Nishtar.

The report 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. In this regard, the report contains a number of recommendations pertinent to each sector to guide policy makers and government functionaries in effectively securing the rights of children. 

The 2012 report provides a dismal account of the deteriorating state of child rights in Pakistan. Presenting the major findings, SPARC research officers Maheen Shaiq, Zohair Waheed and Hamza Hasan revealed that children in Pakistan have to cope with a lack of educational opportunities, poor health conditions, a near absence of protection for poor and vulnerable children, miserable conditions in juvenile jails and continued employment of children in hazardous occupations.

The report reveals that almost 25 million children and adolescents are out of school in Pakistan, out of which seven million (aged between three and five years) have yet to receive primary schooling. 

The poor state of education in the country is evident from Pakistan’s position on the Education Development Index: Pakistan is ranked at 113 out of 120 countries on the index. 

With the current rate of progress, Pakistan will fail to reach the education-related MDGs by 2015. The report states that almost 225,000 annual newborn deaths are reported in Pakistan. It further highlights that the resurgence of polio and measles in different parts of the country poses new challenges to an already under-equipped health sector. 

Violence against children remains culturally entrenched, as children in Pakistan have to cope with physical violence, sexual abuse, trafficking, recruitment in armed conflicts and acid attacks. 

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.

The report quotes Sahil’s Cruel Numbers report to reveal that there were 3,861 cases of sex abuses, reported from different parts of the country in 2012. Similarly, the report relies on Madadgaar Helpline’s national database to highlight that 5,659 cases of violence against children were reported from January to October 2012. 

The report revealed that there were 12 million child labourers in Pakistan, as of 2012. 

The statistics were taken from international sources as Pakistan had failed to undertake a child labour survey after 1996. The report also highlighted the ineffectiveness of the current legislation on child and bonded labour and also emphasised on the lack of concrete measures towards enacting a comprehensive child-labour legislation as an outcome of the 18th Amendment. 

According to the report, Pakistan lacks adequate facilities to deal with children who come in conflict with the law. The report also lamented the fact that 12 years after the promulgation of the 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. 

Finally, the report urged the government to take effective steps to pass all pending legislations pertaining to children and fulfil its international commitments regarding human rights in general and child rights in particular. 





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