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Govt asked to safeguard rights of women, children

HYDERABAD: The government is advised to take stringent measures for safeguarding the rights of women and children by doing away with child labour and discriminatory laws. A girl is discriminated by her family in this patriarchal society from the moment she is born.

The Child Right Unit of the Thardeep Rural Development Programme (TRDP) in collaboration with an NGO ‘Save the Children’ arranged a seminar ‘Poverty, Child Labour and Women’s Rights which was largely attended by the human rights activists, students, children and women from remote villages of Dadu, Jamshoro, Umerkot and Tharparkar.

The TRDP’s Advocacy Specialist Pirbhu Satyani shared facts and figures regarding violation of women and children’s rights, all over Pakistan.

The government in 1996 conducted a research study which revealed the number of child labour at 3.3 million and since then there had been no official research, he said.

However, the TRDP conducted a baseline survey in 2007 which showed association of 36 per cent children of Dadu, Jamshoro, Umerkot and Tharparkar in labour practices, he said adding that 60 per cent household live under poverty line. The residents of these districts are deprived of education, health and clean water facilities.

Mr Satyani while delving on women issues said that disparities in families and domestic violence have placed female members at the highest risk. Prejudice begins the moment a girl is born to a family as she is looked down upon and then a chain of discriminatory attitude trials her to deathbed. People tend to invest less in girls as compared to boys in terms of education, health, food and clothes.

Mr Satyani urged the government to implement relevant laws and include informal child labour in the list of Employment of Children Act 2001, while at the same time initiate child and women-friendly projects for poverty eradication.

General Manager of the TRDP, Bhagwani Rathore asked all the stakeholders working for women and children to launch a campaign for their rights from a single platform.

Women activists Ms Rukhsana from Kotri and Mirzadi from Wahi Pandhi demanded of the government to immediately reopen girls’ schools in Dadu and Jamshoro with ensured quality education.

An official of the Society for Protection of Rights of Child, Kashif Bajeer demanded implementation of Bonded Labour (Abolition) Act 1992.

The HRCP Coordinator Ashu Thama slammed politicians for utilizing all their energies on NRO and memogate scandal, while neglecting women and children who are passing through a highly critical situation of human rights abuses in this province.

An activist of the Women Action Forum Ms Musarrat Haseen Shah laid stress on creating awareness among women and children about their rights.

SPO Mustafa Baloch asked the government to carry out its responsibility of addressing the issues of child labour and women’s rights, and civil society organizations to ensure full participation of children in every forum rather than their token participation. He emphasized on changing the mindset of the male-dominated society towards women and children.

They should be valued like their male members.

Chief operating officer, TRDP, Zafar Junejo said that women empowerment would help in eradicating child labour and poverty.

A play by the girls of Kanoth, Jamshoro was staged at the end of the session.

Source: Dawn