Stories about child rights

The deepening crisis: child rights in a negative society

On July 17th every year, we celebrate the ‘World Day on International Justice’. Over 120 countries adopted this statute at the International Criminal Court (ICC) in Rome, creating a permanent international court to task criminals. The anniversary is for taking a day out to reflect on the successes and challenges of bringing justice and countering violence. The recent United Nations (UN) casualty report has greatly undermined the gravity of the deepening crisis clearly demonstrating undue favouritism to certain countries that have been accused of the violation of child rights. One of the biggest casualty counts is the Yemen crisis, led by Saudi Arabia ...

Read Full Post

The flaw in Punjab’s child marriage law

Justice Muhammad Imman Ali has served in the Supreme Court of Bangladesh as well as other high ranking positions as a law practitioner. He is famous for his work on child rights; he has drafted the much known comprehensive law Shishu Ain 2013 Children Act in Bangladesh, and has played a vital role in promulgation of the same. In December 2014, he received the International Juvenile Justice without Borders Award for his untiring efforts towards the protection of children’s rights and juvenile justice. A source of inspiration for me, Honourable Justice Imman Ali has articulated very clearly that the two problems – child marriages ...

Read Full Post

12 things the media should have highlighted when a 5-year-old was murdered in Lahore

Having worked on child rights issues and more specifically against child sexual abuse, a highly prevalent and often not talked about menace of the society, for the last 16 years, the sad and tragic incident of the rape and murder of a five-year-old earlier this month in Lahore, did not come as a shock to me. However, what did come as a shock and disappointment was how the media missed the opportunity to highlight, through its vast network, the importance of educating children, parents and caregivers about the issue of child sexual abuse; the need for strong and effective legislation against child sexual ...

Read Full Post

Reinstate the moratorium on the death penalty!

As a legal and human rights defenders’ community, we should condemn the Peshawar attack and express solidarity with the victims. However, lifting the moratorium and executing prisoners on death row will not eliminate the threat of terrorism and militancy or make us safer. It will be another step towards eradicating the constitutional rights of ordinary citizens.  Shafqat Hussain’s case has nothing to do with terrorism and seems more like a public relations gesture to appease public outrage at the heinous and barbaric attack of December 16th. As Reprieve points out, Hussain is of poor background, and was 14-years-old at the time of the offence. ...

Read Full Post

Gandhiji would have been proud of you, Kailash Satyarthi

Mr Kailash Satyarthi has come a long way since his engineering days at Samrat Ashok Technological Institute, Vidisha, Madhya Pradesh, literally. My father, who was one year senior to this electrical engineering student, vividly remembers him as that shy, reticent, modest young man, from a middle-class background, who would come to the college in his staple kurta-payjama with a muffler tied around his neck. “Simple living, high thinking,” was his philosophy, recalls my father, a civil engineering student in 1970, adding that “he was different”. Mr Satyarthi would be aloof and would rarely mingle with others. One thing was clear to ...

Read Full Post

Landlords in Punjab: “Off with the boy’s arms!”

It’s a small village in Punjab. Two men begin fighting over a few thousand rupees and what seems to be an electricity wire. One of the men has a 10-year-old son who does the unthinkable – he goes to take a bath in the enemy’s tube well. The landlord/owner cannot stand this injustice. He beats the boy and pours hot water on him. The little boy runs and hides in the fields but the landlord seeks him out again. This time, he ties him up with a rope and cuts his arms off with a thresher. Did I just narrate ...

Read Full Post

In 2014, slavery still exists…

Children are beautiful, innocent, simple and sweet. Therefore, they are loved, cajoled, pampered and spoiled. They get special treatment, selected food, quality education, prompt healthcare and extra attention. But this is not true for every child. Not every child is considered beautiful, simple and pure. Some children are born to live as children while others are born to live as slaves. These slave children are neglected and forgotten. They are beaten day in and day out, humiliated and assaulted. They are the waiters, the maids and the mechanics. They are the ones you take one glance at and then look away, because they look ...

Read Full Post

Is Pakistan making the same mistakes with child rights as India?

The importance of modern education for any society is so obvious that it hardly needs any explanation. And indeed, the subcontinent has come a long way since the days of Raja Ram Mohan Roy and Sir Syed Ahmed Khan. Nonetheless, both India and Pakistan have failed to ensure a high level of literacy, let alone education for our masses even after more than six decades of independence. And this is a major reason for our economic backwardness. Moreover, lack of education is also a major factor behind the rise and growth of violent theofascist movements that pose a major threat to peace and progress in the ...

Read Full Post

Who decides who is a beggar and who is an imposter?

Sameer is returning home from New York for the first time in six years. He passes the immigration counter, gets his luggage and comes out of the airport, relieved that he is finally through with all the hassle. Then, he squints around for a familiar face, anticipating a relative who’d be there to pick him up. Suddenly, he feels a tug on his shirt and peering down, he sees two mud-ridden little girls looking up at him, hand outstretched and wide-eyes brimming with expectation. He hesitates and tries to find some Pakistani coins in his pocket to give to them. While ...

Read Full Post

They said they would take care of our children in their manifestos, did they lie?

The majority of us, particularly those in the power corridors, may not remember that 2013 was declared the ‘Year of Child Rights’ in Pakistan on November 20, 2012 by the then prime minister of Pakistan while speaking at a function to commemorate Universal Children’s Day. Unfortunately, however, his government couldn’t take any tangible steps in the first two and half months of the year. 2013 was also the year of elections in Pakistan and we heard political parties share their programmes and manifestos with the masses and make commitments related to improving health, education, social protection and other social indicators. This blog is an attempt to ...

Read Full Post