Funds and rehabilitation centers essential for free legal services to children

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LAHORE: The director Legal Awareness Watch (LAW), Sarmad Ali has said the government neither establish funds for providing free legal services to children nor made rehabilitation centers for them.
The Legal Awareness Watch’s director Sarmad Ali told this in a press briefing at local hotel in Lahore on Sunday.
According to LAW, the provincial decision-making corners under the Act 2018 to establish funds for providing free legal services to children brought to justice system.
Legal Awareness Watch calling on decision-making corners to implement juvenile justice Act 2018 in its letter and spirit which was introduced for providing a separate and effective criminal justice mechanism for children in conflict with the law. It was promulgated after the Universal Periodic Review on Pakistan in 2017 which repealed the ordinance of 2000 to provide better system for children who said to have infringed any penal provision.
People from all walks of life and media personnel told children across Pakistan should not be housed in police stations as well as in ordinary prisons regulated under Pakistan Prison Rules 1978 instead in observation homes during the investigation period and rehabilitation centers under the law to rehabilitate them to bring them to normal life, said (Director LAW).
Furthermore, he added that the concerned authorities with no further delay should notify rules of business under section 24 of the Act 2018 for implementing it in its letter and spirit due to this failure juvenile justice committees across Pakistan have not been made functional for resolving minor and major nature penal violations under section 10.
Having functional juvenile justice committees across Pakistan would discharge the courts from the burden of pendency of cases and allowing restorative justice to flourish in the country through diversion from the ordinary penal sanctions, he added. In addition, the provincial decision-making corners under the Act 2018 to establish funds for providing free legal services to children brought to justice system.
No attempt to date has been made at the federal nor provincial levels any to ensure non-disclosure of the identity of the children who come in conflict with the law the Act 2018 demanded the identity of the children who come in violation of the penal law to be protected at all levels even the media reporters, police, and courts had to follow this stipulation of the law, he added.

In the end LAW had demanded that children brought to justice system in any violation of the law should never be stigmatized nor treated as desperate or hardened even if it committed serious violation of law to the reason that “even a dangerous child is a victim”.

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