Approval of Child Protection Bill demanded

ISLAMABAD: Speakers at a seminar urged the government for the approval of the draft Child Protection Bill to end violence against children.

The symposium was organised by the Save the Children in collaboration with the Plan Pakistan and other civil society organisations here to mark the Global Day of Action against Violence. The campaign was launched in 25 districts of the country to sign a petition for demanding the approval of the Child Protection Bill.

The petition is being signed by thousands of people and children across the country to send a clear message to the government that they want violence against children to be stopped. The petition will be presented to Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani.

Children from all segments of the society and delegates from the civil society, government and educational institutions gathered in 25 districts of the country to call for the government to put an end to the violence against children in the country.

Children staged events across the country to protest against all forms of violence suffered by children, including the physical and humiliating punishment, sexual abuse, exploitation, early marriages, neglect and torture.

The children across the country united to get violence against children ended as a top priority, banned corporal punishment in all the schools and educational institutions and demanded the approval and implementation of the Child Protection Bill.

Beyond mere slogans, there is a need for demonstrating the political will on the part of the government to remove lacunas in the legislative and policy framework and allocate fund for the protection of children in the annual budget, the participants demanded.

They highlighted the need for establishing child care centres at the national and provincial levels. Country Director Save the Children, Sweden, in Pakistan Mehmood Asghar categorically referred towards Section 89 of the Pakistan Penal Code which permitted corporal punishment within certain parameters.

Plan Pakistan Country Director Haider W Yaqub said: “There should be no more excuses for violence against children and no compromise in ensuring their protection. Only by ending violence against children can we unlock the full potential of the next generation.”

The speakers urged the government to legislate for the protection of children, the most vulnerable as well as valuable citizens, from violence. Subjecting children to the physical or sexual violence can have horrific consequences that can last throughout their lives, they concluded.

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