President urges legislators to play role in sensitizing society about child rights

ISLAMABAD, Dec 12 (APP): President Dr Arif Alvi Thursday urged the parliamentarians to play their role in sensitizing and guiding the society about children rights.

“Besides the role of parliamentarians about the constitutional and international commitments of Pakistan in the context of the Convention on the Rights of Children, do legislation in this regard, the 372 MNAs must motivate the people and prepare the community to play their role in protecting the rights of children,” he said while speaking as chief guest at a ceremony marking the 30th anniversary of UN Convention on the Right of Children (CRC).

The president said the government, development partners and civil society should join hands to raise awareness in society and improve child rights in Pakistan.

He said dignity of children must be protected and there must be a check on child labour and their sexual exploitation.

He said it was a prime responsibility of the state to provide access to education and health to its children and citizens.

Dr Alvi said legislation on such issues was of paramount importance but implementation of those laws would prevent such abuses in society.

He said besides legislation the parents and society also had a great role to contribute in upbringing of their children.

He said 40 percent of people in society were under stress which also badly affecting the children, adding mercy on people who were under stress should be a prime responsibility of the society.

He said the education system itself must be a vehicle to guide the children and make them strong.

The president said Pakistan’s present and future depend on the realisation of child rights, including their right to survival, development, protection and participation.

He on the occasion also mentioned the grave human rights violations particularly child abuses and torture in the Indian Occupied Jammu and Kashmir.

He said Pakistan would highlight this issue repeatedly as it would sensitize the world to take action against the grave human rights violations being committed by the Indian occupation forces.

Minister for Human Rights Dr Shireen Mazari said the present government was very sensitive about child rights as Prime Minister Imran Khan in his first cabinet meeting had raised the issue of child rights, stunting and their access to education.

She said child abuse was a big issue and the government was doing legislation in that regard to prevent incidents of sexual assault against children.

She said Zainab Alert Bill 2019 was being given final touches at the Standing Committee and expressed the hope that the said bill would be passed from the Parliament shortly.

“Children are our future and if we do not give them their rights, Pakistan cannot move forward,” she said.

The minister said the government had launched awareness programme on child abuse but added society awareness and mind set in that regard had to be changed for safety of future generation of Pakistan.

Mazari said prisons reforms and setting of juvenile courts were top priority of the government.

Unicef representative Aida Girma said Pakistan was one of the first countries to ratify the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child.

She said a lot had been done in a number of areas to advance children’s rights but a lot more had yet to be done, particularly in the fields of child death, stunting, education, child protection centres.
She reaffirmed Unicef support that every child needed to be fulfilled.

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