Islamabad, (Parliament Times) : Society for the Protection of the Rights of the Child (SPARC) organized a Consultation on Need for active role of National Commission on Child Rights on Thursday.
Ms. Afshan Tehseen Bajwa, Chairperson, National Commission on Child Rights (NCRC) mentioned that NCRC is mandated by the Federal Government to monitor the state of child rights in the country as per our international commitments given by the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC).
She further added that NCRC is primarily focusing on issues of girls such as their access to education, health and hygiene, and protection from early child and forced marriages. NCRC also ensures children’s inclusion in all policy dialogues and procedures.
Mr. Khalil Ahmed Dogar, Program Manager SPARC said that special measures are required to safeguard the rights of vulnerable children. There is a need to increase overall spending on child rights especially the percentage of developmental budgets in education, child health and nutrition, and child protection. In addition, 76% of child-related laws which are not in compliance with UNCRC, must be amended and implemented properly.
Senior Child Rights Activist Mr. Arshad Mehmood Khan said that often the need for commissions and committees is downplayed. There are over 100 child-related laws in Pakistan but only 24% of them comply with the requirements of UNCRC. Pakistan has failed its national and international commitments to safeguard children from several forms of violence because of the conflicting nature of laws, absence of implementation mechanism, and lack of surveillance from the government. In absence of a strong national commission, the efforts will not yield any significant and long-term outcomes.
Ms. Khalida Ahmed, Member Board of Directors SPARC said, Pakistan was among the first countries who ratified the Convention on the Rights of children in early 1990s. Ratified states have responsibility to review and revise their laws related to children in the light of Convention, secondly to ensure monitoring mechanism that majority of children enjoy their basic rights, thirdly to prepare and share annual report with public and finally to create awareness on the rights of children among parents, policy makers and media etc.
She added after 3 decades children’s rights framework has not fully integrated within the governments systems. Children exploitation is on the raise in COVID-19. Isolated cases are reported in media and social media. Limited actions are taken by the state. From this we must demand effective and efficient systems to be set up to monitor the rights of children across country.
The event was attended by Ms. Khawar Mumtaz, Ex-Chairperson, National Commission on the Status of Women (NCSW), senior child rights activists, civil society members, children, and renowned journalists.