|Optional protocol||on the involvement of children in armed conflict, on the Sale of Children, Child Prostitution and Child Pornography|
|Violence||The Committee is gravely concerned about the large numbers of children killed as a result of counter-terrorism activities and acts of terrorism and violence, such as the killing of 142 children in an attack on a school in Peshawar in 2014, as well as the deaths of children as a result of drought, including in Tharparkar, malnutrition or lack of maternal and neonatal care. The Committee also expresses serious concern about the reports that the number of infanticides targeting girls is increasing and that such crimes are rarely prosecuted.|
|Corporal punishment||Corporal Punishment is legal in the home, alternative care settings, day care, some schools, some penal institutions and as a sentence for crime.|
|Overview of the child rights situation|
The Committee remains aware of the difficulties facing the State party, namely catastrophic drought conditions and natural disasters threatening the right to survival and development of the child, as well as the law enforcement operations and terrorist activities in certain regions that have displaced a large number of people. All of these problems seriously impede progress towards the full realization of children’s rights, as enshrined in the Convention.
|Female genital mutilation and reproductive rights|
The Committee remains extremely concerned about serious discrimination against girls in the State party and the persistent gender disparity, the persistence of early marriages and exchanges of girls for debt settlement, as well as domestic violence targeting girls. It is further concerned about the status of girls under sharia law, where girls are entitled to only half of the inheritance provided to boys. The Committee urges the State party to take concrete measures to address and reduce the serious gender disparities and discrimination against girls. In particular, the Committee recommends that the State party take effective measures to review its legislation and practices in order to eliminate any gender disparities in entitlements through the implementation of comprehensive public education and awareness-raising programmes to combat and prevent discrimination against girls, and to inform children, especially girls, about their rights under the Convention.
|Racism, children belonging to a minority and indigenous children||The Committee is seriously concerned about the limited freedom of religion in the State party, the sectarian violence targeting children from religious minorities, such as Shia Muslims, Hindus, Christians and Ahmadis, and forced conversions. It is particularly concerned about the blasphemy laws that incur heavy penalties, including the death penalty, for “tainting” the Koran and insulting the Prophet Mohammed, and which are vaguely defined and frequently misused. Furthermore, the Committee is concerned at reports that religious intolerance is taught in schools, that non-Muslim students are forced to complete Islamic studies, and that some school textbooks include derogatory statements about religious minorities.|
|Situation of children with disabilities|
The Committee urges the State party to prevent and protect children with disabilities from abandonment by providing appropriate assistance and guidance to families with children with disabilities and implement awareness-raising campaigns aimed at government officials, the general public and families to combat the stigmatization of and prejudice against children with disabilities and to promote a positive image of such children. Pakistan should also encourage and ensure that all children with disabilities have access to inclusive education and ensure that inclusive education is given priority over the placement of children in specialized institutions and classes and improve the infrastructure and facilities of schools, health-care centres and public buildings in order to provide barrier-free access to children with disabilities throughout the country. Also, the Committee urges to organize the collection of data on children with disabilities and establish an efficient system for diagnosing disability, in order to put in place appropriate policies and programmes for children with disabilities.
|Situation of asylum-seeking, refugee and migrant children||Although the Committee appreciates that the State party continues to host a large number of refugees, especially from Afghanistan, it regrets the lack of a legal framework for refugees and stateless persons. It also remains concerned that refugee children are often unregistered (especially those whose parents do not hold proof of registration cards), have no access to education, which forces them to join madrasas, live in harsh conditions and are subjected to child labour and early marriages, making them easy targets for abuse, trafficking and religious radicalization. Furthermore, the Committee is concerned that children from Bengali, Bihari and Rohingya communities remain stateless.<br /> The Committee recommends that the State party take all necessary measures to integrate refugee and asylum-seeking children into national and provincial education systems on equal terms with nationals of the State party and provide refugees, in particular families with children, with adequate housing and provide shelter to those who live in the streets.|
|Free primary and secondary school||Yes|
While noting some improvement in the State party’s budget allocations for health care and the “lady health worker” programme, the Committee is concerned that State health-care services are insufficient and inadequate, especially in rural areas, where they are primarily provided by the private sector. In addition, the Committee is concerned about the slow progress being made in reducing the child mortality rate and the increase in the rate of neonatal mortality and the increasing rate of polio infection, due to the ban on vaccination imposed by the Taliban and the killings of personnel providing vaccines for children, as well as large-scale and frequent outbreaks of measles. Further, there are inadequate health facilities and services, especially for internally displaced children, almost half of whom are reported to have serious health conditions. Additionally, the Committee is concerned at the lack of access to safe drinking water and sanitation, and the problem of malnutrition, which reportedly leads to 35 per cent of deaths in children under 5 years of age, and is attributed to, among other things, the mismanagement of food aid for children in need.
|Relation to other countries|
The Committee recommends that the State party take urgent action to prevent suicide among children, including by increasing the provision of psychological counselling services and the number of social workers in schools and communities, and to ensure that all professionals working with children are adequately trained to identify and address early suicidal tendencies and mental health problems. The Committee also recommends that the State party collect data and adopt a comprehensive national child mental health policy, ensuring that mental health promotion, counselling, prevention of mental health disorders in primary health care, schools and communities and child-friendly mental health services are integral features of the policy.
|Impacts of climate change|
The Committee is seriously concerned about the negative effects of polluted air, water and soil on children’s health and the insufficient measures taken to address that challenge. The Committee recommends that the State party conduct an assessment of the effects of polluted air, water and soil on children’s health, as a basis for designing a well-resourced strategy to remedy the situation, and regulate the maximum concentrations of air and water pollutants.
The Committee welcomes the legislative acts passed in Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa provinces that prohibit the employment of children in certain hazardous occupations. However, the Committee remains seriously concerned about the extremely high number of children involved in child labour, including in hazardous and slavery-like conditions in domestic servitude and prostitution, and the reports of abuse and torture of working children, including child domestic workers, in some cases leading to the deaths of such children, mainly girls. It is also concerned about the continuing practice of bonded and forced labour affecting children from poor and vulnerable backgrounds, including Dalit children, and the insufficient programmes and mechanisms to identify and protect child victims of forced labour, particularly bonded labour and child labour in the informal sector, including domestic work.
To improve the situation, the Committee urges the State party to take appropriate measures to eradicate child labour, in particular the worst forms of child labour, by addressing its root causes, including poverty and establish mechanisms for the systematic and regular monitoring of workplaces that employ children, in order to prevent ill-treatment, abuse and exploitation. Also, Pakistan should eradicate all forms of bonded and forced labour of children, in particular those from marginalized and disadvantaged groups, such as Dalit children, and bring those responsible, in particular employers, to justice.
|Situation of juvenile justice|
The Committee is seriously alarmed by reports of the execution of several individuals for offences committed while they were under the age of 18 years, or where the age of the individual was contested following the lifting of the moratorium on the death penalty in December 2014. It is also seriously concerned that a large number of persons are currently on death row for crimes committed while they were under the age of 18 years and that these persons have limited access to procedures for challenging their sentence on the basis of their age.
The Committee urges the State party to bring its juvenile justice system fully into line with the Convention and other relevant standards. In particular, the Committee urges the State party to ensure that children are not detained together with adults and that detention conditions comply with international standards, including with regard to access to education and health services and free, qualified legal aid. Pakistan should also carry out systematic and regular monitoring of detention facilities where children are detained, investigate any reports or allegations of torture or ill- treatment of children and ensure that perpetrators receive punishments commensurate with the gravity of their crimes. Furthermore, the Committee recommends that the State party set up specialist juvenile courts staffed by specially trained juvenile judges, prosecutors, probation officers, defence advocates and other relevant personnel, and ensure that all persons below the age of 18 years are tried exclusively by such courts, without exception.
The Committee welcomes the birth registration units and the optional chip-based card system introduced by the State party to encourage birth registration in all provinces. Nevertheless, it remains concerned that only around 30 per cent of children are registered at birth. The Committee is particularly concerned about the low level of public awareness, the complicated procedures and high fees for birth registration and the lack of effective measures to ensure the birth registration of children belonging to marginalized and disadvantaged groups, including children born out of wedlock and refugee and internally displaced children.
The Committee is seriously concerned about the limited freedom of religion in the State party, the sectarian violence targeting children from religious minorities, such as Shia Muslims, Hindus, Christians and Ahmadis, and forced conversions. It is particularly concerned about the blasphemy laws that incur heavy penalties, including the death penalty, for “tainting” the Koran and insulting the Prophet Mohammed, and which are vaguely defined and frequently misused. Furthermore, the Committee is concerned at reports that religious intolerance is taught in schools, that non-Muslim students are forced to complete Islamic studies, and that some school textbooks include derogatory statements about religious minorities.
|Additional Background||Concluding observations on the fifth periodic report released on 11 July 2016.|
|Last Updated (date)||22nd of February, 2022|