‘Child and women’s rights are being transgressed in prisons’ | Pakistan Today

‘Child and women’s rights are being transgressed in prisons’

LAHORE – Provided with nominal facilities, most of the prisons in Pakistan are overcrowded and the prisoners, including women and children, are at the mercy of the state for the provision of basic necessities of life, attendees of a consultation workshop to finalize the toolkit on rights of juvenile detainees organized by the Society for the Protection of the Rights of the Child (SPARC) said.
Even though the law does not permit imprisoning female juveniles, it is being blatantly ignored in different prisons of the country, Justice (retd) Nasira Iqbal observed, adding that women prisoners are also harassed in prison in different ways while their children are not being allowed to lead normal lives.
The police needs to take responsibility and make sure that the toolkit is implemented, Sindh Deputy Inspector General Police Abdul Khalique Sheikh said, adding that children should be set free under Section 10 of the Juvenile Justice System Ordinance (JJSO), 2000.
He advised the organizers of the workshop to phrase the text of the toolkit in indigenous languages so it can be understood nationwide, adding that prison torture is not tolerated anywhere in the world and the local laws give rights to adequate standards of living, adequate food and drinking water, clean clothing and bedding, health, health services and health screening to the prisoners but they were not being implemented.
Principal National Academy for Prison Administration (NAPA), Lahore Masood Khan said that non-custodial measures should be stressed so that children do not end up in prison and provincial governments should establish Borstal Institute under the Juvenile Justice System Ordinance (JJSO) 2000, with facilities of education and training for mental, moral and psychological development of children who become anti-social. Arshad Mahmood, Executive Director SPARC said that minimum standards of human and juvenile rights should be set all over the country and that the toolkit should be prepared in consultation with all inspector general prisons.
The toolkit will encourage trainers (officials) for promoting and protecting human rights of children in detentions, he said. Baluchistan IG Prisons Bashir Bangulzai said his department had taken initiatives to segregate juveniles under 18 years from adult prisoners in Quetta Jail. The Government of Balochistan has moved the summary for establishing the Borstal Institute in Quetta. Muhammad Arif, Principle Staff Officer Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, said that they lacked resources to address the issues of children with a habit of drug addiction. He said that civil society must launch programmes for improving health conditions of juveniles.
Mehboob Khan from Human Rights Commission of Pakistan said that before solving the issues of prisoners and juveniles, the government must improve conditions of prison officials who are deprived of basic life facilities. Iqbal Detho, Sohail Akbar Warraich, Sajjad Cheema, Rashid Aziz and representatives from SANJOG, War against Rape, SHARP and HRCP also spoke on the occasion.

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