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10m child workers in country: HRCP

ISLAMABAD, February 06 2006: Ten million children are working as labourers, while another 200,000 die annually due to consumption of contaminated water in Pakistan, says a new report.

The Human Right Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) report for the year 2005, which was released on Saturday February 4, said some 70,000 children lived on the street.

The report has also recorded what it said growing number of suicides due to poverty in the country; attacks on freedom of the press and the deteriorated law and order situation amid a simmering tension in Balochistan.

“Forty-seven minor girls were gang-raped and 70 were raped from Nov 1, 2004, to Aug 31 last year, as crimes against children increased by 128 per cent over the last four years.”

During the first half of last year, 71 children were murdered after sexual abuse, the report added.

On average, it said, 1,000 women are being killed for honour each year. Some 366 women were gang-raped or raped between Nov 2004 and Aug 2005.

Far fewer women were registered as voters than men, while many in northern areas were denied their right to balloting by traditional elements.

The HRCP asked the government to acknowledge the issue of violence against women. “Denying violent crimes against women including rapes or pointing the finger at other countries can do nothing to solve the problem.”

The attitude of leaders who imply that women victims of the crime are some way responsible for their own fate or that they highlight the issue for personal gain can only worsen the plight of women,” the commission warned.

It said seventy per cent of mothers were anaemic or suffered other health conditions raising the toll taken on women and their children by malnutrition, frequent births and lack of antenatal care. The worsening nutrition situation is closely linked to poverty.

Over 1.7 million Haris remained in bondage across Sindh. The report observed that bonded labour increased in other sectors as well. It demanded that the Bonded Labour Abolition Act (1992) must be consistently upheld and the government must make it sure that the Act held precedents over previous laws on tenants and other forms of bonded labour whenever there is confusion over the interpretation of the law.
Source: Dawn