The deteriorating state of childrens rights in Sindh 

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Karachi (Press Release): On the occasion of the Universal Children’s Day, children from different child rights clubs gathered at a seminar  in Benazirabad, organized by Hari Welfare Association, Children 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 all districts of Sindh.  

Children revealed alarming statistics on education and child welfare in the district. Of the children, 32% were out of school, with 53% being girls, primarily due to poverty, lack of government investment, awareness, and high rates of corporal punishment.

Additionally, 48% of the district’s population had never attended schools, including 26% of females, perpetuating a cycle of illiteracy rooted in a feudal structure.

The child leaders including Areeba, Fiza Fatima, Yushfa, Farwa and Yusra emphasized the prevalence of corporal punishment in nearly all schools, hindering students from reporting due to fear.

They highlighted the scarcity of basic facilities and nonexistent schools in some areas, further obstructing education provision. Malnutrition emerged as a critical issue, with 55 children experiencing stunting due to poor nutrition. Lack of immunization was evident, as around 40% of the district’s population, particularly in rural areas, lacked immunization. Child clubs reported 885 cases of violence against children in 2021, including sexual abuse, abductions, missing cases, and child marriages.

The president, Akram Ali Khaskheli, decried the government’s minimal interest in addressing child labour and bonded labour, prevalent issues in all districts of Sindh.

He remarked that in the tribal districts of Sindh, the lives of peasants and workers’ children are fraught with hardship, devoid of fundamental rights, particularly the right to education.

Owing to persistent tribal feuds, perpetuated by feudalists themselves, these children face significant obstacles in accessing basic education.

Instead, they frequently find themselves involved in agricultural activities or aligning with their fathers in the kacha areas, thereby perpetuating the legacy of tribal conflicts. Child leaders demanded increased funding for schools, female teacher appointments, and rigorous monitoring.

They also urged the expansion of immunization programs to rural areas and the initiation of special services for malnourished children.

There were reported 6.4 million out-of-school children in Sindh, deprived of their right to education due to poverty, lack of nearby schools, government disinterest, awareness, and corporal punishment.

Despite an increase in the Sindh Education and Literacy Department’s budget, the number of schools decreased. The HWA noted a reduction in schools from 49,211 in 2006-07 to 42,383 in 2016-17, with a substantial decline in female schools.

The HWA estimated over 1.7 million bonded labourers in Sindh, including over 700,000 children.

Despite the establishment of human rights institutions including the Sindh Child Protection Authority, children’s future remains bleak, and child protection mechanisms are insufficient at the district level.

Child leaders demanded proactive government measures to address these issues, emphasizing the urgency of protecting children’s rights.

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