Almost 18,000 cases of child abuse reported in Pakistan since 2013

"Since 2013, 17,862 cases of child abuse have been reported in the country — 10,620 of which involved girls, while 7,242 involved boys."
Updated 14 February 2018
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Almost 18,000 cases of child abuse reported in Pakistan since 2013

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan’s Ministry of Human Rights on Wednesday shared alarming figures regarding the prevalence of child abuse in the country.
In a written reply submitted to Pakistan’s National Assembly, the ministry said that, since 2013, 17,862 cases of child abuse have been reported in the country — 10,620 of which involved girls, while 7,242 involved boys.
The data was compiled by the NGO Sahil. The home departments of Pakistan’s provincial governments had been asked to help with data provision, but, the ministry said, “their response is still awaited.”
The ministry’s reply to lawmakers stated that 13,267 of those cases were registered, but the courts had convicted only 112 people.
Minister for Human Rights Mumtaz Ahmad Tarar told the house that the government has ratified various international conventions for the protection of children, including the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC), in 1990 and the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) Convention on Preventing, Combating Trafficking in Women and Children for Prostitution, in 2002.
Farshad Iqbal, manager of research and communication at the Society for the Protection of the Rights of the Child (SPARC), told Arab News: “There is a need to develop a mechanism at governmental level to gather data about child abuse cases. Only then can we effectively plan how to deal with the problem.”
Iqbal said that the numbers reported by the ministry are unlikely to reflect the true magnitude of the problem.
“We think it’s under-reported data,” he said. “But it is still an alarming figure.”


Death toll from anti-Vedanta protests in south India rises to 13

Updated 3 min 30 sec ago
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Death toll from anti-Vedanta protests in south India rises to 13

TUTICORIN, India: A protester shot during demonstrations against a copper plant in southern India died of his injuries Thursday, officials said, the 13th victim killed by police fire.
A curfew remained in pockets of Tuticorin city in Tamil Nadu state where police used live ammunition to disperse protesters this week, provoking international outrage and demands for an immediate investigation.
Calls for the copper smelting plant owned by British mining giant Vedanta Resources to be closed had been building in recent months, with residents complaining it was polluting their city.
The resistance came to a head Tuesday when police stopped a crowd of thousands from protesting outside the factory.
Cars and buildings were set ablaze and rocks hurled at police, who responded with live fire. Eleven demonstrators were shot dead and many people injured in the melee, including 20 police.
Another protester died Wednesday when he was struck by rubber bullets in a second day of protests.
The latest victim died in hospital Thursday, two days after being injured, doctors said.
“He was brought in a critical condition with bullet injuries and died today,” a doctor at the local hospital said.
The chief minister of Tamil Nadu has ordered an inquiry but defended the actions of police, which the state’s opposition leader called “mass murder.”
“The police have a duty during protests to maintain law and order, but lethal force can only be used if there is an imminent threat to life,” Meenakshi Ganguly, South Asia director at Human Rights Watch, said.
“Tamil Nadu authorities need to carry out a prompt and credible investigation to determine if police used excessive force.”
Internet services have been blocked across the city for five days. Police justified the blackout to stop the spread of information that could incite further violence as they search for those behind Tuesday’s arson attacks.
Environmentalists and locals say the factory contaminates water and air, claims its owners deny.
The company has sought to renew the license of the temporarily non-operational plant and hopes to double its production capacity.
But a state court Wednesday ordered that it cease any further construction at the new site.
The ruling came just hours after Tamil Nadu’s pollution board ordered the existing plant be shut and its power supply cut until a verdict is made on its licensing application.