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Men’s role in protecting girls from early marriages highlighted at seminar

Men’s role in protecting girls from early marriages highlighted at seminar

SUKKUR: Child rights campaigners urged men of different communities to play an active role in creating awareness among other villagers to protect girls from early marriages.

They were speaking at a three-day workshop to discuss the Sindh Child Marriage Restrain Act 2013. It was jointly organised by the Sindh Community Foundation and NARI Foundation with the cooperation of UN-Trust Fund here on Monday.

The event attracted a large number of men and women activists and human rights support groups hailing from 10 villages of district Sukkur. Child rights campaigners praised the recent notification of the rules of business of the Sindh Child Marriages Restraint Act 2013 and accredited the provincial government as the first initiator for such legislation after the 18th Amendment.Those who spoke on the occasion included South Asia Partnership Pakistan’s women rights activist Shahnaz Sheedi, Human rights specialist Iqbal Detho, Punhal Surhio of the Sindh Hari Porhyat Council, journalist Mumtaz Bokhari and Sindh Community Foundation head Javed Soz.

Iqbal Detho said early marriages left worst impact on the lives of children and did not allow them to exercise their rights. The current legislation was a very positive initiative by the Sindh government, he said. There was lacking of awareness among the relevant stakeholders involved to implement the act at the local level in real sense, he said.

Punhal Sario said the act itself had the connection with the universal declaration of human rights. Law enforcement institutions should play active role in effective implementation of the law for the larger benefit of citizens mainly children.

Sindh Community Foundation executive director Javed Hussain said there was urgent need to engage all stakeholders to end early marriages through awareness as a tool to realise parents to avoid such actions. He said social myths also needed to demolish through a comprehensive approach to promote awareness of the law. Mumtaz Bokhari also highlighted that media played active role in stopping early marriages.

In the concluding session of the three-day workshop, prominent Sindhi writer Adal Soomro said writers and poets also highlighted such violation of human rights and social injustice. He also referred that such issues were painted in stories and poetry to sensitise the communities.

Veteran writer Dr Rasool Memon said early marriages left worst impact on the health of girls. He said there was a need to change the people’s behaviour.

Focal person of child protection unit Sukkur Abdul Quddus Memon, Afshan Asghar of the NARI Foundation, advocate Farah Baloch, advocate Shahneela Erum, Mushtaq Tanwani were among the speakers at the final session.

In the end, certificates were distributed among the participants.

Dawn

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