Need of discourse on violence against children
Islamabad-Nobody knows what would be the fate of Tayabba, the victim of domestic child labour and violence. But for sure the media’s limelight may not shower upon her for so long, as media is temporal and tedious in nature. If we recall our short memories, we will remember many other cases which caught media’s attention but who cares what happened to the others who are worthy of media focus. We are always very quick in making conclusions about the victims and the perpetrators, however, apart from some chats, status updates and few tweets, we move forward at the same speed to other issues, off course this country is having many. But the fundamental questions of permanent solutions remain unanswered and wait for our considerations until a new case of violence against children unearths. Let us not lose this opportunity, lets deliberate or we will wait for losing of another broom by a domestic child labour.
The phenomenon of violence against children is not that simple as we perceive. For example take the case of Tayyaba, it started with the complaint of torture but with passage of time many layers of different violence unfolded. We noticed that she was tortured brutally; she had been sold in the name of domestic worker, then four parents appeared to claim the parentage. So the complexity of the issue remained unfolding day-by-day.
All over the world, the figures on violence against children are shady. To understand the violence against children, the United Nations Secretary General commissioned a study in 2006. The study confirmed that due to obvious cultural reasons the known cases of violence are just tip of the iceberg.
In the Pakistani context, we can’t have any clue of the magnitude of the violence on children especially when we don’t see it as problem until and unless we don’t show their wounds on TV. Or unless we the perpetrator is big shot or powerful person because if a poor beat a poor it will not create a headline.
Nearly half of the population of this country is children under the age of eighteen years. We claim that children are our future and we should invest in them. But they are not just a matter of future they also exist in present. While speaking from the rights based approach perspective, we don’t need to invest on them or they have no obligation to pay back the investment because children are human beings like adults they are not commodities for investment.
We are bound to give them their constitutional and fundamental rights. If we implement the Article 25-A of the constitution in its true spirit, no child will be left out of school and thus no ‘Tayyaba’ will be working a domestic child in the age of 10. I remember a strict logo of an Indian child rights organization “If a child is out of school he/she is in the labour.”
We heard a lot on the need for legislation to ban the domestic child labour or inclusion of the domestic child labour in the list of the hazardous occupations. The political will and commitment in this regard is highly instrumental. Government has already drafted an Islamabad Capital Territory Child Protection Bill, 2016 which is now approved by the cabinet legislative committee. The bill is addressing the gaps in the child protection infrastructure exists at the capital level.
The provinces also needed to improve their respective legal and child protection mechanisms to better handle these incidents and focus on the prevention of violence against children.
We have to look and review the telos of our social behavioural standards, which don’t bother the degradation of our servants or which allow to punish our very own children in the name of discipline.