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Protecting the rights of the child... By Irshad

21 November, 2012

Universal Children's Day is commemorated on November 20 across the world. On November 20, 1989, the United Nations adopted the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) to safeguard child rights around the world. Pakistan ratified the convention on November 12, 1990 and made a commitment for the protection and promotion of child rights in the country.

Unfortunately, even on the 22nd anniversary of the UNCRC ratification, the situation of child rights is not satisfactory. Children in Pakistan constitute almost half of the population of the country but are deprived of basic necessities and are extremely vulnerable. The UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, while considering Pakistan's consolidated 3rd and 4th periodic reports, observed that the concluding observations of the second periodic report have not yet been sufficiently implemented, including those relating to the harmonisation of the laws with the convention, improved coordination at national and local levels, the establishment of a monitoring mechanism and resource allocation for children, among other steps. This is an indication that Pakistan's progress has been weak on most counts. On October 30, 2012, during the universal periodic review of Pakistan, the Human Rights Council suggested 163 recommendations to the government of Pakistan for improving the situation of human rights in Pakistan more than 50 percent of these recommendations are related to children rights.

As a citizen of Pakistan and a child rights activist, I request the government of Pakistan to consider the recommendations of international bodies and to also consider passing the Charter of Child Rights Bill, the Criminal Laws Amendment (Child Protection) Bill, the National Commission on the Rights of Children Bill, the Child Marriages Restraint Amendment Bill and the Prohibition of Corporal Punishment Bill. Moreover, federal and provincial governments must increase budgetary allocations in health, education and children-specific schemes, programmes and projects so that the welfare of children in Pakistan can be ensured.

DR IRSHAD DANISH
Islamabad

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