The State of Pakistan’s Children: SPARC Report
One of the Pakistan’s leading child advocacy groups, Society for the Protection of the Rights of the Child (SPARC), launched its annual report “The State of Pakistan’s Children 2012” on Tuesday, May 28, here in a local hotel in Islamabad. Representatives from various walks of life including social activists, government officials and journalists attended this launching ceremony and shared their views.
The report provided a systematic overview of developments in various sectors in the year 2012, including child rights, child labour, education, health, juvenile justice and violence against children. A bleak picture painted by the report for the rights and protection of children, revealed that around 25 million children were out of school and almost 12 million children were victim of child-labor in the said year. It also highlighted the apathy of the government and political parties towards the vicious cycle of child labour and child rights coupled with emphasizing on the lack of concrete measures towards enacting comprehensive child labour legislation in the aftermath of the 18th amendment in the constitution.
According to the report, Pakistan ranks 2nd with the most out of school children in the world and hence it stands on 113th position out of the 120 countries on the Education Development Index as it reduced it spending on education from 2.6% to 2.3% of GNP over the last ten years. Likewise, the health sectors also provides a shocking situation as in the country, more than 423,000 children die in the early ages and this mortality is due to pneumonia, diarrhea, measles and other fatal diseases of the kind. This report shows that around 5,659 cases of violence against children were recorded in the year that include 943 murders, 260 missing children, 164 Karo Kari incidents, 410 forced marriages 204 cases of child trafficking, 1170 injuries, 302 cases of sodomy etc. The drone attacked children also numbered around 197.
SPARC’s report also included recommendations for eradicating out this evil from the country. It recommended that there must be consistently increasing budgetary allocations for education each year to meet the target of 7% GDP share by 2015 coupled with a share of 5% in health sector. It also suggested to establishing a Child Rights Commission.
Anees Jillani, the head of SPARC and the research team spoke on the occasion and the audience raised questions at the end of the session. One of audience asked that why had SPARC not included the data of Gilgit-Baltistan and AJK in the report. To which Anees Jillani answered that they would reach the areas in the near future in that regard. Salma Fatima, a student, while giving her comments suggested that there should be an accountability of the NGOs as in the existence of the mushrooming of countless projects and NGOs; the status of children is still pathetic. This very report of Children’s status, having a picture of Mala Yousafzai on the front cover was distributed among the participants.