Sindh child protection body stalled
KARACHI: After a lapse of more than four years to the enactment of the Sindh Child Protection Authority Act meant to provide for the establishment of an authority to ensure rights of children in need of special protection measures, the body has finally been notified, yet it is dysfunctional as rules of business have not been passed despite passage of months since the notification.
Officials in the Sindh welfare department said a dozen of individuals, including two members of the provincial assembly, government officials, lawyers and non-governmental organisations constituted the Sindh Child Protection Authority (SCPA), which had been entrusted the task to formulate its rules of business, had met three times since it was notified in November, yet, it was not known when would it accomplish the task.
The SCPA was supposed to be constituted within 60 days to the passage of the act, yet it took four years to the government to notify it, but it still awaits rules of business to formally function.
The officials said they were still waiting for notification of relevant rules, a prerequisite for the authority meant to monitor child protection related issues at provincial and district levels.
The Sindh assembly passed the Sindh Child Protection Authority Bill in May, 2011 and the governor assented to the bill in June, to ensure the rights of children — people up to the age of 18 — who need special protection measures.
The bill called for establishment of an authority for child protection within 60 days after the passage of the law.
The sources blamed the government for delays in making bylaws that hindered the functioning of the SCPA. However, officials claimed the rules would soon be in place and they were busy in making financial proposals for the budget for the next fiscal, which would be needed to run the SCPA, its affiliated child protection units, which would be established in each of the 29 districts of Sindh.
The terms of reference given to the SCPA in the government’s notification in November last year ask the body to coordinate and monitor the child protection related issues at the provincial and district levels; ensure the rights of the children in need of special protection measures and support and establish institutional mechanism for the child protection issues.
The SCPA is also obliged to make necessary efforts to enhance and strengthen the existing services of different children welfare institutions; set minimum standards for social rehabilitative, re-integrative and reformatory institution and services and ensure their implementation; and supervise in the light of minimum standards, the functions of all such institutions established by the government or the private sector for the special protection measures of the children.