SPARC organizes interactive theatre on corporal punishment in Haripur, KPK

SPARC organized an interactive theatre performance in District Haripur on 31st May, 2016 with the involvement of students from three Government Girls’ Primary Schools in the district. A total of 350 students (285 girls and 65 boys), 40 female teachers and 90 females from the surrounding area participated in the event. The aim of the theatre performance was to create awareness about the harms of corporal punishment and the importance of protecting child rights. The theater performance was broken down into two parts to give a comparative analysis between a child-friendly and a conventional classroom environment in schools.

Deputy Commissioner Haripur, Mr. Tasleem Khan was the chief guest on the occasion and appreciated SPARC for organizing the interactive theatre performance on a very important issue plaguing public sector schools. He stated that teaching was one of the noblest professions in the world where the individual has the opportunity to impart knowledge and mould young minds towards a better future. Also present at the event were the DEO, ADEO and SDEO from the district education department and Project Manager Jahanzeb Khan.

SPARC launches project in collaboration Karachi Youth Initiative (KYI)

SPARC signed agreement with the Karachi Youth Initiative under the project titled ‘Engaging Youth of Karachi University through Leadership Skills’. The project seeks to create Youth Rights Clubs (YRCs) in Karachi University, with students from the sociology, psychology and visual studies departments. The aim of the project is to create awareness amongst the youth them about their rights and responsibilities via youth leadership trainings and community engagement.  

Child abuse ring discovered in Pakistan, hundreds of photos and videos recovered

Anger is mounting in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa’s Swat district after news about a gang involved in child sexual abuse and child pornography came to light after the arrest of Aurangzeb, a key gang member via a tip-off the police received from a boy who had escaped from the clutches of the gang.
The boy’s father had filed a report with the Mingora city police on Sept 28, 2014 after his son went missing. According to the survivor’s statement, he had gone to the bazaar to buy sweets when two men, who he identified as Sajjad and Umar Khaliq, drugged him and whisked him away in a vehicle. “After sometime when I came to my senses I found myself in a room where Aurangzeb forced me to have sex with him,” said the boy, recalling that he had been subjected to abuse on daily basis.

Mingora City DSP Mr. Sadiq Akbar stated that the police had obtained a three-day physical remand for Aurangzeb from the judicial magistrate. The suspect was produced before the court on Wednesday. He also added that Aurangzeb was caught while having sex with another boy who was 14 years of age and that a sizeable number handcuffs and chains were also recovered from the residence.

The unearthing of this child abuse case has outraged both civil society groups and residents of Mingora, who are demanding stern action against the perpetrators.

Shockingly, some policemen were also found to be involved in the gang. The 14 year old boy recovered during the raid stated that, “One day a policeman informed Aurangzeb about a possible raid, upon which the two facilitators took me in a vehicle to Barikot and threw me out”.

Moreover, a man identified as Sherin Zada has provided local journalists with hundreds of photos and videos which were allegedly recorded while Aurangzeb sexually abused different boys.  Sherin Zada claimed to have gotten the material from one of his informers and that his own nephew had also been kidnapped by this gang. The journalists have handed the material to the Swat District Police Officer Saleem Marwat, who has formed a joint investigation team led by DSP Sadiq Akbar to probe the case.

In the absence of legislation, street children in Balochistan suffer a terrible fate

According to the Society for Empowering Human Resources (SEHER), an organization that works on child protection, there are some 15,000 street children working/living on the streets of Quetta, Balochistan. About 60 percent of them are scavengers who wander and scour different parts of the city picking garbage. Mr. Abdul Wadood Khan, Executive Director at SEHER stated that street children are extremely prone to risky behavior and hazards including sexual and physical abuse, drug use and exploitation and lack access to health, nutrition, hygiene or legal support.

A majority of street children in Quetta are Afghan refugees who migrated to the city in the early eighties in wake of the Afghan Jihad and later the US-led War on Terror in Afghanistan in 2001. These children live in neighborhoods populated by Afghan refugees such as Bashir Chowk, Usman Road, Kashmirabad, Pashtoonabad, Western By-Pass, and Nawa Killi. During the day, they wander around the commercial areas of Kasi Road, Mezan Chowk, Baldia Plaza, and Prince Road. The city also has a large number of street children, garbage pickers and beggars that come from the neighboring Sindh province and FATA.

A national study conducted by the Society for the Protection of the Rights of the Child (SPARC) titled ‘Surviving the Streets’ revealed that the average weekly income for children working and living on the streets is more than Rs. 800 (roughly Rs. 3,000- Rs. 4,000 a month).  Moreover, common expenditure incurred by children working on the streets is food and family whilst those living on the streets spent most of their money on food and travelling. Rarely do any street children spend money on clothing, hygiene or entertainment.

On November 12, 1990 Pakistan ratified United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) that provides a broader outline for the promotion and protection of child rights. While other provinces have drafted policies to protect children, Balochistan has yet to make any progress in this regard.

Indonesia child rapists could face death penalty

Indonesian President Joko Widodo on Wednesday approved a law prescribing the death penalty as the maximum sentence for child rapists, after several brutal gang rapes sparked public outrage in the country.

Social media erupted in calls for harsher punishment following a case early this month, in which a group of men was charged with raping and killing a schoolgirl in Bengkulu in the western island of Sumatra.

The case prompted rights groups to accuse the government of not doing enough to protect women and children and provoked a tweet by Widodo himself seeking punishment of the perpetrators, although his statement came more than a month after the event. He stated that those responsible for sexual abuse of children, as well as repeat sex offenders, could also face chemical castration and be tagged with an electronic chip to track their movements.

"Sexual violence against children is an extraordinary crime," Widodo told a news conference at the presidential palace. “This regulation is meant to overcome (such) incidents, in which we have seen a significant rise”.

Rights activists warned against the decision to permit capital punishment and the use of chemical castration. "In most cases the perpetrators know the victims, and these punishments are so severe that it may discourage victims from reporting the rapes," said Andreas Harsono of New York-based Human Rights Watch.

Widodo´s government drew international condemnation last year for its execution by firing squad of several drug traffickers, mostly foreigners, despite repeated pleas for mercy from other governments and activists.

After a year-long hiatus, Indonesia is set to resume executions this year, but authorities have given no details.

Another Chibok Schoolgirl Kidnapped by Boko Haram Is Found, Nigeria Says

Hours after the president of Nigeria met with a schoolgirl rescued after more than two years in Boko Haram captivity, government officials announced that another of the missing girls had been found.

Soldiers and vigilante forces found the girl, Serah Luka, during an operation conducted on Thursday that killed 35 Boko Haram fighters and rescued 97 women and children, according to the military.

Ms. Luka, who the military said was receiving medical attention, had been at the boarding school in the village of Chibok just over two months when fighters raided and kidnapped the nearly 300 girls there during exam week in April 2014.

Earlier, President Muhammadu Buhari whisked Amina Ali, who was found roaming a forest laden with Boko Haram fighters, to Abuja, the capital, in a presidential jet. She sat in a plush leather chair in the presidential villa before the country’s dignitaries.

Ms. Ali shook hands with the president, who held her sobbing baby, a 4-month-old girl, Safiya, as he showed mother and child to a crowd of journalists.

Local vigilante fighters found a malnourished Ms. Ali two days earlier as they were scouring the area for Boko Haram militants. She was with the baby and a man claiming to be her husband. Government officials said the man was really a Boko Haram fighter. Her rescue was the first since a few dozen of the girls escaped in the days after the kidnapping in Chibok.

Now 218 girls remain missing, believed to be somewhere in the Sambisa forest where Boko Haram members have been hiding out. On Thursday, Mr. Buhari renewed a pledge to find them all.

“Rest assured that this administration will continue to do all it can to rescue the remaining Chibok girls who are still in Boko Haram captivity,” Mr. Buhari said. “Amina’s rescue gives us new hope and offers a unique opportunity for vital information.”

The abduction of the girls has been a political embarrassment for Mr. Buhari. He took office last year after campaign pledges to find all the girls and stamp out Boko Haram. Neither has happened.