By: Our Correspondent
ISLAMABAD: During a consultation session held in Islamabad, Afshan Tehseen Bajwa, Chairperson National Commission on the Rights of Child (NCRC) shared that NCRC has been set up to make recommendations for effective implementation of policies related to children and recommend the Federal Government to sign, ratify or accede to any proposed International Treaties and Protocols in the best interest of children.
The consultation session titled “30 Years of Advocacy on United Nations Conventions on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC)” was arranged by Society for the Protection of the Rights of the Child (SPARC) at a local hotel in Islamabad.
She further added that although the commission has started only recently it has an integral role to play for promotion of child rights in Pakistan. An empowered NCRC, which can only be achieved through cooperation of civil society and media, can assist the government in safeguarding the rights of Pakistani children.
Child rights activist, Khalil Ahmed Dogar and Program Manager SPARC said that UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) is an international human rights agreement which defines the civil, social, health, cultural, political and economic rights of children under the age of eighteen.
He added Pakistan ratified the Convention on the Rights of the Child on November 12, 1990 and the successive governments have renewed their commitment to creating friendly environment for all Pakistani children. Unfortunately, huge challenges remain for them in the country. There are laws regarding child Education, Health, Nutrition, Juvenile Justice, Violence, Neglect, Labour and Marriage but unfortunately these laws have not been fully implemented.
Amjad Nazeer, Executive Director, Institute of Development Research and Corresponding Capabilities (IDRAC), said that Pakistan submitted its 5th Periodic Report UNCRC in 2015. The CRC committee highlighted several issues ranging from the incapability of the state to legislate in favor of children, barriers to enforcement of child laws and weak coordination among stakeholders. The UN committee also mentioned meager funding of interventions related to child welfare by the government as well as neglect and corruption of local level government officials to check child labour and child abuse.
Senior Child Right Activist Syed Safdar Raza added that Pakistan has come a long way since 1990 especially Pakistan’s work against child trafficking, sale and prostitution has been praised internationally. However we still fall behind most of the indicators of human development. Out of the 110 child related laws in Pakistan, only 24% are in compliance with UNCRC. The observations of CRC Committee on 2015 report mentioned political and economic instability, and resultant fuel and food crisis as main reasons for Pakistan not achieving targets of Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and Education for All (EFA). Unless these issues are addressed, Pakistan will fall behind in Sustainable Development Goals as well.