LAHORE – The State of Pakistan’s Children 2011, an annual report on the state of child rights was launched by Society for Protection of Rights of the Child (SPARC) here at a local hotel.

The report has been published for fifteen years and encompasses all major sectors of child rights including education, health, child labour, violence against children and juvenile justice to name a few.

The report highlights the debilitating state of child rights in the country during 2011 while suggesting recommendations for the government to take appropriate measures for child rights. Presenting the major findings of the report, SPARC program officers Sobia John and Imran Mahmood shared that various child related issues. According to them, ratification of the Optional Protocol of the UNCRC on Sale of Children, Child Prostitution, and Child Pornography, adoption of the Prevention of Anti-Women Practices Act 2011 and amendments in the Frontier Crimes Regulation 1901 were some of the major achievements in 2011.

The challenge however is implementing the above laws at the grass root level. Moreover, bureaucratic delays in the espousal of various children related bills need to be addressed to improve the status of child rights and child protection, they said.

“A plethora of issues relating to different forms of violence against children show the dearth of government legislation needed to address them. In 2011, a total of 2,303 instances of sexual abuse were recorded from various parts of the country. The number of acid attacks rose from 65 to 150 in 2011 while latest statistics also reveal that 24% of women between the ages of 20-24 years were married before the age of 18 years in Pakistan. These issues call for a multi-pronged approach that amalgamates educational and awareness initiatives with policy level interventions to counteract culturally and socially entrenched issues relating to child related issues,” they added.