The deteriorating state of children’s rights in Sindh: On universal children day

Nawabshah (20 November 2020): Children from different school clubs urged the district and provincial governments to invest funds and take extraordinary steps to protect the right to life, survival, health, and education in the province. The school clubs are run and organized by Hari Welfare Association (HWA).

While talking to the media persons at the Nawabshah Press Club, Mutahir Ahmed, Child Club Leader said that in 2019, 861 cases of child abuse were reported in Sindh by Sahil NGO, which also include 155 cases of abduction, 231 cases of missing children, and 85 cases of child marriages. In the same year, of the total 104 child marriage cases, 82 percent were reported in Sindh. Moreover, in the year, of the ten most vulnerable districts of abduction in Pakistan, seven belonged to Sindh, which are Khairpur, Sukkur, Larkana, Hyderabad, Dadu, Ghotki, and Nusheroferoz. These cases reveal the protection of children is not ensured by the state and the relevant authorities in every manner.

Malaika Gill Youth Leader shared that in 2016-17, Pakistan Education Statistics reported 6.4 million children including 3.3 million girls out of school in the province. They were deprived of their fundamental right to education. Malaika added that these out-of-school children were unable to attend school because of poverty, no nearby schools, lack of government’s interests to invest in education, lack of awareness, and higher rates of corporal punishment. Malaika also said that in almost all schools corporal punishment is common, but children out of fear do not share with anyone, and one day stops coming to the school.

Faran Ahmed Child Club leader stated that the higher rate of illiteracy is the outcome of a feudal structure that forces the poor to stay in the cycle of poverty and marginalization. He also said that most of the schools in the province were without basic facilities which hampered the provision of education. He added that in some areas schools did not exist if these exist but without school buildings.

On occasion, the President of Hari Welfare Association, Akram Ali Khaskheli said that on the universal children day, each district department should have organized activities to aware children and adults of their rights but the government had little interest in it. He said that the worst forms of child labor and child bonded labor are also prevalent in the district, but no steps are taken to address these issues. Children demanded the government to allocate more funds for building schools, appointing female teachers, and initiate rigorous monitoring. They also requested that the scale of children and women immunization should be spread to rural areas and special services should be started to support malnourished children.