Child Protection Institute to be established in ICT

ISLAMABAD, Aug 5 (APP):A Child Protection Institute would be established under Islamabad Capital Territory (ICT) Child Protection Act, 2018 which provides protection of vulnerable children at ICT level.
A high level Consultative Committee on Child Abuse and Beggary has been constituted and one of the objectives of the said Committee is to expedite process of establishment of Child Protection Institute. Under this act, a Commission is also being established.

Official sources on Monday said Ministry of Human Rights, being focal Ministry to coordinate implementation of UNCRC has taken/being taken various measures on child rights/protection (ICT Child Protection Act, 2018).

These included : Child Protection Advisory Board has been notified while proposal for creation of posts for Child Protection Institute has been approved by Management Services Wing, Establishment Division.
Rules have been drafted for ICT Child Protection Act, 2018 which will be finalized after consultation with relevant stakeholders. Moreover, regular budget has been allocated to National Child Protection Centre which fulfills temporary shelter and protection services to children at risk.

The current budget of National Child Protection Centre (NCPC), Islamabad is Rs. 15.5 million.
The sources said Pakistan ratified United Nations Convention on the Rights of Child (UNCRC) in 1990. Pakistan’s 5th Periodic Report on UNCRC was considered by UN Committee during 2016. The Concluding Observations of the UN Committee
on UNCRC are being implemented.

In this regard, a comprehensive matrix (action plan) was developed and high level meetings with Provincial Chief Secretaries were convened by Secretary, MoHR to implement Concluding Observations.
The steps taken in light of concerns of the UN Committee on UNCRC, the sources said these included legislative measures at Federal Level and the Zainab Alert, Response and Recovery Bill, 2019 provides for protection of missing and
abducted children.

The Bill is under consideration of National Assembly’s Standing Committee on Human Rights.
Moreover, the sources said Treaty Implementation Cells have been established at Federal and Provincial level to oversee implementation of the UN Conventions including UNCRC.
The regular meetings are convened to follow-up the progress.

Minimum Quality Care Standards for Child Care Institutions are being finalized to ensure that the services provided by Child Care Institutions are in accordance with prescribed minimum standards.
Draft Action Plan on Child Abuse has been prepared which provides for prevention and protection of children from abuse. It will be finalized after consultation with relevant stakeholders.
Draft Interagency Protocol on Child Abuse for Child Care Institutions at ICT level is under process to enhance coordination among various child protection institutes at ICT level.

A media campaign has also been launched for awareness on issue of child abuse.
In this regard, the relevant Ministry has developed video messages on child abuse and requested PEMRA to telecast these on public and private channels.
Once Schools reopen, a team of the Ministry will visit schools in ICT to talk to parents, teachers and students on the issue.

Ministry of Human Rights is also in process of initiating a programme to sensitize police in ICT on child abuse while Provincial Governments have taken measures for implementation of the UNCRC and Concluding Observations:

The Punjab Restriction on Employment of Children Act 2016 was enacted to regulate employment and prohibit child employment. Punjab Prohibition of Child Labour at Brick Kilns Ordinance, 2016 was promulgated to prohibit children, below
18, for employment at hazard work place.

Punjab Destitute and Neglected Children Act, 2004 (Amended 2017) was promulgated to protect vulnerable children. Under this law, eight Child Protection Centers have been established to provide shelter, education, health and
referral services.

The Punjab Marriage Restraint (Amendment) Act, 2015 was enacted to prohibit child marriages.
Sindh Child Protection Authority Act, 2011 has been promulgated to provide protection services to vulnerable children through child protection units.
Sindh Child Marriage Restraint Act, 2013 has been enacted which declares marriage below age of 18 years punishable by law.

The Government of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa has set up a Provincial Commission for Welfare and Protection of Children under the KP Child Welfare and Protection Act, 2010.

Twelve (12) Child Protection Units are working under this Commission with UNICEF support. The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Prohibition of Employment of Children Act, 2015 has been enacted to prohibit employment of children in any establishment.

The Government of Balochistan has enacted the Balochistan Child Protection Act which provides for protection of children from violence, abuse and exploitation.

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