LAHORE: Civil society organisations have expressed concern over the poor implementation of concluding observations and recommendations of the Committee on the Rights of Children.
The committee had made the recommendations in 2009 in view of a periodic report of the government showing Pakistan’s progress towards the implementation of United Nations Convention on the Rights of Children (UNCRC).
The Child Rights Movement Punjab on Monday arranged a consultation in collaboration with Save the Children.
Representatives of the Salvation Army, BUNYAD Foundation, PAHCHAAN, WVI, GODH, SANJOG, the Social Welfare Department, the Human Rights Department, the Labour and Human Resource Department, the Law and Parliamentary Department, the Child Protection and Welfare Bureau and the Reclamation and Probation Department attended the session. Sajjad Cheema from Save the Children said 2014 was being celebrated as the silver jubilee year of the UNCRC. He said Pakistan was among the first countries to sign and ratify the UNCRC.
However, he said effective implementation of the UNCRC had always been neglected. He said the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child stated that when a state ratified the Convention on the Rights of the Child, it took on obligations under international law to implement it.
“In Para 40 of the General Comment 5, it has been stated that the committee has found it necessary to emphasise on many states that decentralisation of power, through devolution and delegation of government, does not in any way reduce the direct responsibility of the state party’s government to fulfil its obligations to all children within its jurisdiction, regardless of the state structure.”
Cheema said the UN Committee on CRC had directed the government of Pakistan to establish a body at the federal level to ensure implementation of the UNCRC in all provinces. Plan International Pakistan Policy and Advocacy Coordinator Iftikhar Mubarik said the Punjab government should take immediate steps to bring a prohibition of corporal punishment law.
He said child domestic labour should be stopped under the Employment of Children’s Act 1991. He said, if needed, the government should bring special laws to protect children’s rights. He said a child protection policy must be approved without any delay.
Hussain Naqi from the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan said the issues of children had not received due attention of political parties.
Published in The Express Tribune, September 30th, 2014.