Child rights protection: Schoolchildren in city get a voice of their own

Published: February 22, 2012

Govt forms first-ever advisory committee for children.

ISLAMABAD: 

Children studying in schools in Islamabad may finally get a voice of their own. For the first time in the country’s history, a government-endorsed children advisory committee (CAC) has been formed. 

The committee has been made so that it can voice the concerns and address matters affecting schoolchildren of Islamabad and the federal areas, said a press handout on Tuesday.

Government-school students will be the members of the committee. Twelve schools, representing Islamabad and other federal areas, will each nominate two students for the committee. The committee will regularly meet to gather the views of children on child rights protection and listen to matters affecting them.

“The most important stakeholders in the promotion of child rights are children themselves. Children’s opinions and representation is thus of outmost relevance in any matter relating to child rights protection,” Project Coordinator Mohammad Jamal Khan Sadozai told the The Express Tribune. The project has been implemented by the Wafaqi Mohtasib Secretariat (WMS) and funded by the UNICEF.

The CAC will be part of the Children’s Complaint Office (CCO), which was established in 2009 to redress children’s issues. The committee will enable children discuss their issues directly with the CCO.

Moreover, selected members of the CAC will be assigned the task of forming clubs in their respective schools to help children familiarise themselves with children’s rights.

The CCO will also monitor these schools to follow up on the progress of the clubs.

The CAC members in their first meeting were briefed about their rights under United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Children and the CCO as a medium to protect their rights. They were told that they can register complaints against federal agencies in the WMS after discussions with the CCO on issues affecting them.

Published in The Express Tribune, February 22nd, 2012.

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