Activists call for legislation against domestic child labour
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By A Reporter | 1/12/2017 12:00:00 AM
ISLAMABAD: Representatives of human and child rights organisations held a press conference on Wednesday, during which they called on the government to enact legislation against domestic child labour and modern slavery.

Activists gathered at the National Press Club under the banner of the Child Rights Movement (CRM), an umbrella organisation of NGOs working on child rights.

CRM representative Alishba Yousuf said the pending child rights bills in the Senate and National Assembly are not a government priority.

Referencing the case ofTayyaba, a 10 year old employed as a maid and allegedly abused in the home of a serving judge, she said people do not have access to incidents that occur within the four walls of a home.

`We demand a proper tracking system to ensure that not a single child is abused,` she said.

Ms Yousuf also suggested a headline through which people and children could reach the concerned departments in case of any incident.

She also called for institutions to be made child-friendly in terms of investigation, saying it seemed that investigation departments favoured adults and were more likely to listen to them.

Arshad Mehmood, a human rights activist, said the Employment of Children Act 1991 does not cover children employed as domestic help in homes, because no one has access to houses.

`New legislation is needed to ensure the rights of every childare protected and the state intervenes directly in case of any complaint,` Mr Mehmood said.

Activist Valerie Khan demanded violence in cases like Tayyaba`s should be declarednon-bailable crimes. In Tayyaba`s case, she said, the FIR included bailable sections. `Tayyaba`s case was politicised when it should have focused more on the child`s issue.Ms Khan said it was unfortunate that people with large families sent their children to work in homes to earn money.

`They do not know what happens to the child and how they are treated by the residents of houses where they are living, she added.

CRM`s Habiba Salman added that Article 25-A, which guarantees the right to education for every child, should be implemented. She claimed that if a child stays in school, s/he would never be exploited.

Senate body approves bill against child torture The Senate Subcommittee on Interior on Wednesday approved a bill against the `torture` of children.

The bill was tabled by Senator Saleem Mandviwala, and states that children cannot be `tortured` by teachers, relatives or their parents.