Task force reviews pending legislation on children rights

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A task force comprising of parliamentarians, members of civil society and government officers has met on Wednesday to review the pending legislation on children rights and recommend steps to protect for their protection.

The first meeting of the Task Force on Child Labour was organised by the National Commission for Children, established by the federal ombudsman.

The prime objective of the meeting was to discuss the priority issue of child labour.

The participants discussed various ways to push pending legislation on children rights through the Senate and the National Assembly.

They emphasised the need for policy and legal reforms for the protection of children especially those who were working as domestic labourers or were employed at hazardous workplaces.

They called for joint efforts for taking practical steps to improve conditions of vulnerable children and ensure their schooling.

National Commissioner for Children Ejaz Qureshi highlighted the commission’s efforts in cooperation with other state and non-governmental organisations, and civil society.

Federal Ombudsman Secretariat focal person Viquar un Nisar Hashmi gave a comprehensive briefing on the legal framework and outlined different steps that needed to be taken to ensure the safety of the children.

She underlined the need for devising a support mechanism for the children and their families who needed to be lifted out of poverty.

While taking part in the discussion, PPP Senator Farhatullah Babar said that 26 cases of child abuse were reported in the first three weeks of January 2017.

He said children were tortured, raped and murdered by the criminals and a proper framework is required to minimise such acts.

The participants were of the view that enough laws were present to protect rights of children but there was no implementation in this context.

They recommended that two pending bills on child labour needed to be merged to deal with the issues of child labour, initially at federal level to cover Islamabad Capital Territory and Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA); and later the provinces, Gilgit-Baltistan and Azad Jammu and Kashmir regions will be taken on board for legislation on similar lines.

The participants also deliberated on steps to improve conditions of the transgender community.

A representative officer of Islamabad police said amendments were needed in laws to effectively stop child begging and use of children as labourers in houses.