Islamabad, Pakistani Minister for Human Rights Shireen Mazari has called for a greater international cooperation to curb the crime related to child sexual abuse that has become a serious issue in the country.
In an interview with Xinhua news agency on Friday, the minister said that the child sexual abuse had become a serious issue in Pakistan and it was found that their convoluted strings went as far as Europe after some groups involved in child pornography were recently busted.
“It is a universal problem across the world and while every country tries to deal with it, perhaps greater international cooperation will help get rid of this crime much quicker.”
She said that previously this issue was neglected in Pakistan, but now the country was set to play its part in curbing the menace of child sexual abuse by enacting more laws and rigidly implementing the existing laws relevant to child abuse.
Currently, the maximum punishment of child abuser in Pakistan is life imprisonment, but lacunae in criminal justice system and tediously long court proceeding end up in low conviction rate. The same factors account for out-of-court settlements between families of victim and the abuser.
Mazari said that the country’s judiciary departments were in the process of forming criminal judicial reforms and once they were finalized, proceedings of criminal cases will no longer be stretched year after year.
The minister said that an awareness campaign will be launched across the country in schools to educate children how to protect themselves from falling prey to sexual abuse.
She said that parents and teachers will be a part of the awareness campaign as they should learn about relevant laws which can help them take sexual abuse culprits to task.
Many people do not seek remedy for the injustice done to them due to lack of awareness. The failure also lead to a continuation of the crime as the culprits feel emboldened and commit more such crimes with impunity.
The minister said it was not possible to stop such incidents from happening overnight, but the number can be reduced by enforcing punishments on the offenders.
She said that they were planning to add human rights as a subject in schools’ curriculum to educate kids to take care of each other and protect their rights from an early age.
Mazari added that her ministry will also launch an extensive media campaign and run short TV programmes to educate the overall society that child abuse was a cognizable offence.