Islamabad, 27th April 2017: Despite the growing incidences of violence and abuse against children, there still remains a severe absence of the necessary measures that can help protect children. This was stated at the launch of the annual ‘State of Pakistan’s Children’ report, by the Society for the Protection of the Rights of the Child (SPARC).
Speaking at the event, Sadia Hussain, Executive Director SPARC said: “Children’s rights have long been a neglected issue. While there has been progress in legislation related to child rights, Pakistan still lags behind international standards due to the poor implementation of existing child protection laws as well as a general lack of awareness on key issues”.
Explaining the report’s findings lead researcher Farshad Iqbal said: “The year 2016 came with the stark revelation that Pakistan has failed to achieve its targets under the UN’s Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). The reasons for this failure aren’t hard to identify, considering nearly 22 million children are still out of school, whereas nearly 50% of children in Pakistan are chronically malnourished. Furthermore, the Human Capital Development Report, 2016 has also ranked Pakistan at a dismal 118. The situation calls for immediate and effective policy measures with a strong adherence to and implementation of existing legislation, and a future course of action that can help Pakistan achieve Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by the year 2030”.
Comprising of a multi-faceted overview of the state of Pakistan’s children, the report has for the last two decades been systematically documenting the evolution of child protection laws, social attitudes and key developments, with an annual overview of the state of child rights in Pakistan. This includes detailed figures on the state of education, health, juvenile justice, violence against children and child labor across Pakistan.
The launch was attended by Representatives from various walks of life including social activists, government officials and journalists all of whom shared their views on the dismal state of Pakistan’s children.
Speaking at the occasion, Balighur Rehman, Minister of State for Education and Interior commended SPARC for its continued efforts and highlighted the importance of the report in the current socio-economic environment. He pointed out that “Over the last three years the government has made a concerted effort in improving lives of its children which is evident for instance in the increase in HEC’s allocated budget of Rs 40 billion to Rs 90 billion for tertiary education.
The launch also presented an opportunity for SPARC to distribute its Child Award for Excellence, to recognize the contribution of Eiza Abid to the cause of children’s rights. Awards for child sensitive reporting were also presented to journalists for their contributions to the cause.