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Domestic violence main cause of child workers’ death

Jan 21, 2014

ISLAMABAD:

Domestic workers in Pakistan lead a miserable life, facing constant physical abuse from their employers.

Violence is the single most contributing factor to the untimely deaths of child domestic workers.This was stated by Chairperson National Commission on the Status of Women (NCSW) Khawar Mumtaz in a statement issued here on Monday.

Ms Khawar, while condemning the violence against a girl domestic worker in Lahore which resulted in her death, stressed upon the need to strengthen laws for the protection of domestic workers.

The child domestic worker in Lahore’s residential area had been severely beaten by a university professor on January 17 and the girl had to be hospitalised owing to her critical condition.

Doctors later put the girl on ventilator due to her deteriorating condition, but she died on Sunday. The professor later confessed to his crime and was put behind bars.

NCSW chairperson maintained that domestic workers were denied basic rights given in the Constitution of Pakistan and even the right to life.

“Cases of violence against domestic workers are on the rise in Pakistan. Between January 2010 and December 2013, 47cases of violence against child domestic workers are reported in the media. Culprits often get bail from courts due to non implementation of laws,” she said.

Ms Khawar added that the plight of child domestic workers was alarming in all four provinces and most cases of torture were noticed in the upper class where child workers were often forced to work against their wishes.

She also regretted the absence of a legal framework under which workers were ensured protection of their rights despite the fact that Pakistan had ratified International Labour Organisation’s (ILO) conventions.

“The law makes it incumbent upon employers to provide healthcare to their workers and then there is the Minimum Wages Act of 1961,” she added.

“Given the changing times and the advances that have been made in labour laws in other developing countries, NCSW would like to take forward the issue of domestic violence against home-based workers, especially female children, according to the constitution,” Ms Khawar said.

 

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