Child protection bill:  Would a bill be enough to stop child abuse?
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2015-12-13 10:30:35

Child protection bill:  Would a bill be enough to stop child abuse?

Child

The National Assembly Thursday passed the Criminal Law (Amendment) Bill, 2015 aimed at protecting children from cruel treatment. The salient features if the proposed Act included the minimum age of criminal responsibility has been raised from seven to 10 years and the upper age limit from 12-14 years, protection of children from cruel treatment, criminalises child pornography and proposes punishments. The act of exposing children to obscene material has been criminalised with punishment. The law will also provide punishment for internal trafficking of humans. Minister for Law and Justice Pervaiz Rashid piloted the Bill to amend the Pakistan Penal Code, 1860 and the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1898 in the House.Dr Shireen Mazari, Dr Nafeesa Shah, Shahzia Marri and Dr Azra Fazal said the upper age limit should be revisited and it should be 16 years instead of 14 years. Mehmood Khan Achakazi was of the view that “we must be vigilant while passing such legislation.” He suggested that any abuse to any age should be incorporated. The grownup may also face such ugly situation, he added. Pervaiz Rashid said the Bill was unanimously passed by the standing committee after thorough deliberations. Every party has representation in the committee, he said and added that the Bill should be passed. It was about time that laws were amended. The increasing use of cheap tools to film and distribute videos, like cell phones and social media, make child pornography easier. Laws have not been amended to reflect these modern developments. However, weak law enforcement will continue to be the major problem hindering the protection of children, even after the amendments. Abuse can be of many types. Though sexual abuse is clearly criminal, many children live in appalling conditions in Pakistan with parents who are physically abusive, verbally abusive, or subject their children to child labour, scavenging or begging. There is no system to protect children in our country, no clear process to report abuse and get children to safety from their abusive parents and caretakers. In fact, separating a child from its family, no matter how abusive, would be taboo in Pakistan, where family ties are considered more important than any concern for well-being, freedom or equality. The fault is in our mindset, where obedience of the young, and of children, is demanded by such an extent by elders (including parents, teachers and even older people in the workplace) that there is no room for the voice of the young. This obedience is extracted by physical and mental coercion of the child by adults. Such an environment, that teaches majority of young children to “respect” elders and obey unquestioningly, also teaches them to stay quiet and obey when the abuse crosses physical barriers.

pk.shafaqna.com

 

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