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Child protesters rally against abuse

Demand greater legal protections for 'most vulnerable' in society

Child protesters rally against abuse
Children demonstrate against child abuse outside the Lahore Press Club yesterday reporter, Lahore

May 31, 2012

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More than 150 children gathered yesterday outside the Lahore Press Club to demonstrate against child abuse in the country in an event organized by the Society for the Protection of the Rights of the Child (SPARC). Protesters wore masks and carried placards bearing cuttings of newspaper articles about child marriage, suicides of rape victims and the kidnapping of minors. SPARC started the campaign in response to news reports of five teenage suicides in different parts of the country this month. “The increasing depression, desperation and dilapidation in society is making children mature before their time,” said Sobia John, a program officer on violence against children at SPARC. “We are having a serious lack of information of the next generation. This is a very dangerous trend.” SPARC says rising incidents of kidnapping for ransom, early marriage, murder and sexual abuse against children in Punjab province must be stopped. “We demand immediate legislation on these practices. Equally important is to promote non-violent values through public education and awareness,” said Sajjad Cheema, regional manager of SPARC, in a press statement. “The increasing violence and oppression of the weakest and most vulnerable members of our society requires effective measures at many levels,” Cheema said. “However the state seems to be a silent spectator, showing least concern over the loss of innocent lives. It must be compelled to fulfill its international obligations.” SPARC says that 17 cases of violence against domestic child workers have been reported since January 2010, while UNICEF says about 7.3 million primary school-aged children do not attend school. Related reports

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