Child Rights Movement gathers force

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Child Rights Movement (CRM) and SPARC, two NGOs working for the rights of children, have launched an advocacy campaign for the ratification of the optional protocol (OP), which says that no child under the age of 18 can be recruited by armed forces. Around 10,000 post cards will be sent to the prime minister by the civil society, including children, to demand the ratification of the protocol.
The OP to the UN Child Right Convention (CRC) was adopted by the United Nations General Assembly resolution in 2000, and entered into force in 2002. Currently, 139 countries have signed the OP, including Pakistan. Similarly, a radio campaign would be launched in major cities to generate demand for the ratification of the OP.
The OP was brought into operation because Article 38 of the UNCRC was not consistent with the protection of children, as it mentioned that children under 15 years could not take part in direct hostilities, and could not be recruited into the armed forces.
The campaign stressed that in light of the definition of a child, and in the best interest of children, no child under the age of 18 should be allowed to be involved in hostilities, and that no child under the age of 18 should be recruited in the armed forces.
CRM Coordinator Imtiaz Ahmed said the Pakistan Army had identified around 20 child rights abuse cases in 2009 wherein the Taliban were believed to have abducted these children to turn them into informants, and even, suicide bombers.
Eleven boys, the youngest being only seven, were interviewed by journalists at a military base in Mingora. “We neglected our children in the past, and now the country is facing serious issues in the form of child suicide bombers,” Rubina Qaimkhani said.
Ahmed said any state that ratified the optional protocol would increase “in years” the minimum age of voluntary recruitment, set at 15 in the convention, to 18. Also, the state would take all feasible measures to prevent recruitment of children under 18 by armed groups. The state would take legal measures to prohibit and criminalise such practices.
“Every child has the right to protection from all forms of abuse and exploitation. The rehabilitation and reintegration of children who were used as soldiers is also the right of such children. Pakistan, however, failed to protect the rights of these children, and despite the fact that it was among the first 20 countries to sign the OP to the Convention on the Involvement of Children in Armed Conflict in October 2001, it failed to ratify it,” he said.
He said if Pakistan ratified the OP on Involvement of Children in Armed Conflict, Pakistan would have to submit an initial report to the Committee on the Rights of the Child within two years, detailing the steps which Pakistan had taken to ensure that no child under the age of 18 would take part in hostilities.

1 COMMENT

  1. My name is amirAbbas. I Am from pakistan (multan) my request is plz.help us. We r cricket lover.and want to play cricket in our "gali"(street). But a man name arshad can't let do us. Even he is not from our "gali".and 1 time he broke our stumps, and beat us some time. And injured our fellow.plz help

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