PAKISTAN: Eight million child labourers - rights body [ This report does not necessarily reflect the views of the United Nations] © IRIN Child labourer,Jun 1, 2005 1 of 1View Source
PAKISTAN: Eight million child labourers - rights body
[ This report does not necessarily reflect the views of the United Nations]
Child labourer, Rwalpindi - a new report suggests the number of such workers is higher than official estimates
ISLAMABAD, 27 May 2005 (IRIN) - An estimated eight million children are currently working in Pakistan, with almost two-thirds employed full-time, according to the annual report of the country's leading child rights society.
"The basic rights of the children - education, health and protection are being grossly violated in the form of child labour in a wide range of sectors that are often hazardous and difficult to access," Zarina Jillani, a child rights activist working with the Society for the Protection of the Rights of the Child (SPARC), told IRIN in the Pakistani capital, Islamabad.
The annual report of SPARC entitled, 'The State of Pakistan's Children 2004', released earlier this week, looks at the condition of children in five broad categories: education, health, child labour, violence against children and juvenile justice.
SPARC is the country's leading child rights body. Established in 1992, it has been publishing the annual reports since 1997. Through research, advocacy, awareness raising and training, the society works nationwide to improve conditions for young people.
The report points to a substantial increase in the number of working children in the country. According to the National Child Labour Survey conducted in 1996 by the Federal Bureau of Statistics (FBS), about 3.3 million children were economically active in the country.
The SPARC report added that poverty had a direct impact on child labour and called on Islamabad to do more to foster poverty alleviation.
Taking a critical look at government spending, the report said: "Pakistan spent 98 billion rupees (approximately US $1.6 billion) on poverty alleviation programmes from July to December in the financial year 2003-2004. After this much spending why has there been no discernable decrease in poverty in this country?"
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