SPARC wins Child Rights Movement (CRM) Sindh Chapter

Society for the Protection of the Rights of the Child has won the provincial secretariat of the Child Rights Movement (Sindh) through an election held at the head office of DEVCON in Karachi.

The CRM is a consortium of 180 member organizations, who are working for the protection of children rights in Pakistan. However, any ordinary citizen with interest and commitment towards children’s rights and protection can also join as individuals. Similarly, doctors, lawyers, professionals from media and academia etc. can also join the movement. Through its election, SPARC hopes to carry on and bolster various activities relating to the uplift of child rights and child protection mechanisms throughout the province of Sindh.

Distribution of Ramazan packages by Islamic Relief with the help of SPARC

On 29th June, 2016, SPARC in collaboration with Islamic Relief distributed Ramadan ration packages to selected households in Bangash Colony, Rawalpindi. To ascertain the number of families to be provided with these packages, a team from SPARC visited the locality to identify and register 150 families in Bangash Colony. Each family chosen was allotted a token number that they would use to collect the Ramadan packages from Islamic Relief. The selected families were told to come to the nearby Islamic Relief office and collect their ration packages by presenting the token.

Just a grass cutting resulted in a nine year old girl murdered in Sanghar by landlord

A nine year old girl named Asma was gunned down by the local landlord as she was cutting grass in his fields. The horrific incident took place in a village near Sanghar in the province of Sindh. Asma and her younger brother ventured onto the lands of the local landlord to cut some grass. The landlord arrived at the fields a few moments later and became enraged upon seeing the two cutting grass on his fields. He started firing indiscriminately in the direction of Asma and her brother. She was shot four times and pronounced dead before arriving at the hospital, however, her younger brother managed to escapeunharmed. The local police have yet to file an FIR against the perpetrators.

Another case of honor killing

In yet another case of honor killing in Pakistan, ZeenatRafique, an 18-year-old woman from Lahore, Pakistan, was killed by her own family members after she eloped and married her choice.

Zeenat was seeing a 19-year-old Hassan Khan, now her widower. According to media reports, the two had been secretly seeing each other since they were in school and were dating for the last five years. The duo got married on May 29, after which Zeenat eloped and moved away from her family members. However, following an intervention from Zeenat’s paternal uncle over the possibility of a reconciliation, hassan reluctantly sent Zeenat back to her home. Zeenat herself was keen on talking to her mother to convince her for a possible reconciliation. However, her mother had other plans. According to Hassan, after Zeenat reached home, she was tied to a bed by her mother and brother. She was first strangled and to make sure she died, the duo poured gasoline over her body and set her on fire.

Following an autopsy, it was revealed that Zeenat was still alive and was breathing when she was set ablaze after doctors found traces of smoke in her respiratory tract. The doctors were also able to establish that she was strangled after they found strangulation marks on her neck.Zeenat’s mother turned herself in after the killing and is currently in police custody. Her brother, AhmerRafique, is still on the run. If Zeenat’s killing wasn’t enough, other members of her own family refused to accept her body for burial. Zeenat’s Body was eventually handed over to her husband. 

The news of this latest case of honor killing from Pakistan comes just a few weeks after a teenager and school teacher was burned alive for rejecting a marriage proposal. While many blame the religious extremism that prevails within the country for this problem, very often, it is seen that such honor killings are carried out by several educated families as well.

One in three young South Africans victims of sexual abuse, report finds

South Africa’s first nationwide study on sex abuse has found that one in three young people will experience some form of sexual abuse before the age of 17, with boys at a higher risk than girls.In collating data for the report, the researchers interviewed more than 10,000 children, conducted various focus groups with community representative and held discussions with care workers.

The groundbreaking report, released by the Centre for Justice and Crime Prevention and the University of Cape Town, found that 784,967 teenagers between the ages of 15 and 17 had been sexually abused.Of that number, no boys reported these incidents while just 31% of girls told the police or an authority figures about their experiences.

In their findings, the seven authors distinguished between contact abuse, which is frequently penetrative and exposure abuse, which is defined as victims being forced to witness sexually explicit events, such as masturbation or pornographic material. 

The study also found that the major risk factor for sexual victimization in  is alcohol and drug abuse.The children of substance abusers can be up to 1.5 times or even twice as likely to suffer sexual abuse; showing that the country’s high alcohol consumption per capita as well as a high rate of drug abuse poses a significant problem.

U.N. urges Greece to stop detaining migrant children

A top United Nations official urged Greece to stop detaining refugee and migrant children and develop effective child protection services instead of locking them up in police cells. The United Nations Special Rapporteur on the human rights of migrants, Francois Crepeau, said that he had met unaccompanied children held in police stations for more than two weeks without access to the outdoors, and found them traumatized and distressed being locked up in jail cells. Some of the children were accompanied by families and incarcerated in overcrowded detention centers where inter-communal frictions and contradictory information created an unacceptable level of confusion, frustration, violence and fear.

More than a million migrants, many fleeing the  Syrian war have arrived in Europe through Greece since last year. According to the United Nations Refugee Agency, more than 150,000 arrived in 2016 so far; 38 percent of them children. Moreover, Save the Children International says an estimated 2,000 unaccompanied children who travelled alone to Europe or lost their families on the way are stranded in Greece.

Mr. Crepeau further stated that detention should only be ordered when people present a risk, danger or threat to the general public and that it should be a documented threat rather than one presumed on a hunch. He also added that the authorities should develop a substantial and effective guardianship system for unaccompanied minors and increase the shelter capacity for children.