Pakistan did not enact the Child Rights related Bills

Islamabad: There are only five days left to the national assembly of Pakistan, it will be dissolved before or on 16th March without enacting pending legislation on child rights which includes the Child Protection (Criminal Law Amendment) Bill 2009, the National Commission on the Rights of the Child Bill 2009, the Charter of Child Rights Bill 2009, the Prohibition of Corporal Punishment, the Child Marriages Restraint (Amendment) Bill 2009 and National Immunization Bill 2009.

The Institute for Social Justice (ISJ) realizes that this assembly has enacted only the Right to Free and Compulsory Education Act 2012 after too much hue and cry from civil society. but the government has not done anything considerable to address grave matters of child rights violations which ranges from child sexual abuse, worst forms of child labour including child domestic labour, child marriages, corporal punishment, child trafficking, children in armed conflict, street children and so on. The Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf declared 2013 ‘the year of the child rights’ but unfortunately there are taken no efforts to comply with this announcement, nor even a formal notification has been issued by the Prime Minister Secretariat.

The ISJ urges the National Assembly and the parliamentarians to consider enacting all the pending bills including the main bill on the National Commission on the Rights of the Child (NCRC) which will be the only statuary national body to monitor the implementation of minimum child rights standards in Pakistan in light of our constitutional and international obligations being party to the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child.

After the 18th Constitutional Amendment, there is a dire need to establish the NCRC because the child rights has become a provincial subject and there is no body at national level to regularly coordinate with provinces for not only maintaining minimum standards but also providing technical support and assistance. It is sad to note that the NCRC Bill is pending since 2001 (which was revised in 2009 and 2013) without any progress towards its enactment.

The ISJ feels that this is the very last chance for this government (assembly) to do something for children.