By Jan Odhano
JACOBABAD: Cases the child abuse, violation and child labor are on increase in Sindh and the Government of Sindh is committed to take all possible measures to end violence and abuse against children in Sindh. This was stated by Ms. Shamim Mumtaz, MPA & Chairperson Sindh Child Protection Authority (SCPA), Social Welfare Department, and Government of Sindh in press conference in Jacobabad and
Legal Rights Forum (LRF) is facilitating a Field Trip of Chairperson SCPA to Hyderabad, Mirpurkhas, Tharparkar, Dadu, Larkana, Shikarpur and Jacobabad in collaboration with Save the Children Pakistan and Child Rights Movement-Sindh. The visit is aimed at reviewing the current state of affairs of Child Protection Units (CPUs) working under the Social Welfare Departments in these districts; assess status of child abuse, violation and child labour; assess challenges faced by CPUs; assess CPU needs; coordinate with District Coordination Committees; hold public meetings (Khuli Kachehri) in order to have perspective from the community and engage media.
Addressing to the press conference in Jacobabad and Ms. Shamim Mumtaz outlined the mandate of SCPA. According to her SCPA Act was ratified in 2011 for child protection and rights and as per law Child Protection Officers were appointed in each district and CPUs have been established at district level to ease the cases of abuse and violence with children in Sindh. She appreciated support from LRF and Save the Children Pakistan for establishing CPUs which are based in Social Welfare Department’s offices in each district who are instructed to run a Helpline that is available 24/7, carry out Case Management and referral of the cases to connect the survivor with different service providers. She said that there is a District Coordination Committee (DCC) to oversee and ensure the child protection in a district which consists of three CSOs representatives and two Lawyers, SCPA, Social Welfare Dept, Law Dept and Police Dept.
Ms. Shamim Mumtaz highlighted the need for the establishment of speedy-trial and special courts for child sexual abuse and other child rights cases. She is convening public meetings (Khuli Kachehri) in each district in order to have perspective from the community so that to amend child protection and justice laws accordingly.
She announced a program of theatre shows about child protection in the education sector and Madrasas that will cover subjects such as child labor, Early Marriage Restraint Act 2018 and Child Abuse in society. She also advised to hold Awareness Sessions on ground level in local Language. She said that we should engage LHV women workers to go door to door and in Government & Private schools at the daily assembly time for awareness on Child Protection & Rights. She also stressed on the importance of counselling of parents and teachers to end child violence and abuse.
Mr. Manzoor Ahmad, Program Manager-LRF also address the press conference. He shared that LRF works for the promotion and protection of children rights, focusing children at risk of violence, abuse, exploitation and neglect and LRF advocates policy change and support/assist the government for establishment of child protection systems at all level. LRF believes that Child Rights, Protection and Governance can be achieved through strong partnerships with provincial authorities, teachers, justice providers, health professionals, social mobilisers, Civil Society Organizations, LSO, CBOs, communities, families and of course the children themselves.
Mr. Sajjad Ali Lolai, CPU Project Coordinator-LRF, shared that LRF has established CPUs and is providing technical support in Jacobabad, Shikarpur, Larkana and Dadu in partnership with Save the Children Pakistan to help implement Sindh Child Protection Authority Act 2011. In this regard, 16 Child Protection Desks have been established in relevant line departments namely Police, Education, Health, Labor and women Development departments. 04 District Coordination Committees (DCCs) on child protection have been notified and activated chaired by DCs as per SCPA Act 2011; 200 Child Protection Committees (CPCs) formed and capacitated (50 in each district 25 males and 25 females); 200 Children Clubs (CCs) formed and capacitated (50 in each district 25 boys and 25 girls); 150 CPCs transformed into 03 registered CBOs and 150 CCs transferred into 03 DCOs in Dadu, Larkana and Shikarpur. So far 242 cases of child abuse and protection have been registered at CPUs and 192 have been resolved.
As per schedule, the Ms. Shamim Mumtaz along with LRF team will visit Shikarpur and Jacobabad today to monitor CPUs, address Khuli Kachehri and hold press conference there.
By Jan Odhano