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UNICEF supports calls for an end of violence against children in Pakistan

© UNICEF Pakistan/Zaidi
Cecilia Lotse talking to students at a school in Pakistan’s North West Frontier Province where UNICEF has provided supplies, playground equipment, clean water and toilets.

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan, 24 May 2005 – UNICEF’s Regional Director for South Asia, Cecilia Lotse, brought attention to efforts to stop violence against children during her first trip to Pakistan to attend the South Asia Regional Consultation on the UN-mandated Global Study on the Violence Against Children in Islamabad.

This was Ms. Lotse’s first visit to Pakistan since assuming her post and she also travelled to the country’s North West Frontier Province.

In  the province’s main city, Peshawar, Ms. Lotse focused on the elimination of corporal punishment of children at the launch of the “Disciplining the Child - Practices and Impacts” study which was undertaken by UNICEF and Save the Children Sweden. The study, the first of its kind in Pakistan, will gather data on the abuse of children which is prevalent in both schools and home.

© UNICEF Pakistan/Zaidi
500 balloons moments before they are launched by child participants at the South Asia Consultation on Violence Against Children in Islamabad.

Ms. Lotse also traveled to the high mountain valleys of the region where she visited schools in scattered communities. In the Abbotabad district, Ms. Lotse met with teachers, students and parents at the Harnara Girls’ Primary School. The students here carry their textbooks in school bags donated by UNICEF. The organization has also provided toilets and potable water facilities, as well as rugs for the classroom floors and outdoor recreation equipment which the girls enjoy during their recess.

The teachers are trained in a “child-to-child” approach, which according experts, contributes to a positive learning environment.  Some parents credited this approach with making their daughters more responsible at home, better behaved, and more respectful of “etiquette” in dealing with family and community members.

© UNICEF Pakistan/Zaidi
A student enjoying new playground equipment, one of the ways UNICEF is supporting this school in its transition to a “child friendly environment”.

Focusing on child protection

The main purpose of Ms. Lotse’s trip was to attend the South Asia Regional Consultation on the UN-mandated Global Study on the Violence Against Children in Islamabad. This meeting also brought ministers and government representatives from Afghanistan and from the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC).

“No society or religion approves of violence against children – bringing it to an end is a concern for all civilized nations,” said Pakistan’s First Lady, Begum Sehba Musharraf, who was a special guest at the opening ceremonies.

With the help of Afghani and Pakistani children who participated in the consultation, Pakistan’s Minister for Social Welfare and Special Education, Ms. Zobeida Jalal launched 500 purple balloons emblazoned with the words “Wipe away the tears – End violence against children”.

“We want the message to go out across South Asia. Beating and hurting children is wrong. The time has come for us to do what we can to wipe away the tears and to stop violence against children wherever it happens,” said Ms. Jalal. “Let’s make a contract that there’ll be no more tears, no violence and above all, no exploitation of children.”



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