CRM pushes for commission to protect children’s rights | Pakistan Today

CRM pushes for commission to protect children’s rights

Child Rights Movement (CRM), an alliance of 24 civil society organisations has demanded the immediate establishment of the National Commission for Child Welfare and Development (NCCWD) in the Ministry of Human Rights and the expeditious enactment of legislation for the setting up of an independent commission to safeguard the rights of children.
The civil society group in a meeting here on Friday lamented the fact that there was nobody in the country responsible for child rights at the federal level currently and there was no support system facilitating provinces to fulfil their responsibilities related to child rights in terms of the constitutional and international obligations the country had taken on by taking part in the Convention on the Rights of the Child and accepting its Optional Protocol.
They demanded that the Commission be given the power to monitor and protect children’s rights across the country in order to ensure that the minimum standards these obligations entailed were met and to advocate policy and systemic improvements that included budget allocations.
The bill for the National Commission on the Rights of Children (NCRC) had been pending since 2009 unfortunately without any progress towards its enactment, noted the CRM.
It was discussed that although children constituted almost fifty percent of the total population, nobody had the statutory power for the promotion and protection of their rights.
SPARC Chief Executive Officer Arshad Mehmood asserted that the government urgently needed to pass the NCRC Bill and establish a focal statutory body within the Ministry of Human Rights so the constitutional and international obligations could be carried out with consistency.
Article 25 (3) of the constitution empowered the government to make special provisions for the protection of women and children, he said.
The speakers appreciated the recent decision taken by the Government to place the National Commission on the Status of Women in the Ministry of Human Rights. In light of this, the case of children stood vis-à-vis with that of women, opined the representatives of the movement.
The CRM appealed to parliamentarians, especially members of the National Assembly’s parliamentarians’ group for children’s rights, the Senate, the National Assembly Standing Committees on Human Rights and speakers at the National Assembly to urgently look into the matter and take steps towards establishing a body for the promotion and protection of child rights in the country on the national level.
The meeting was attended by the majority of CRM members including Bedari, Cavish Foundation, GVO, ITA, Islamic Relief, MRDS, OSD, NIDA, PODA, PCE, Right to Play, Rozan, Sahil, SHARP, SPARC and SSD.
A one-month plan of action was also discussed and approved to conduct extensive advocacy and lobbying including meetings with parliamentarians and concerned government officials, letters to the President and Prime Minister being sent by the civil society, Child Rights Committees and international partners, consultations with the media to mobilise the concerned government quarters to take steps for the establishment of the Commission.

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