PARC conference: Speakers demand govt implement child rights laws -Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF)

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PARC conference: Speakers demand govt implement child rights laws

* One million child labourers in NWFP alone
Staff Report
PESHAWAR: Speakers at a conference on child protection have demanded that the government implement child rights laws.The conference was organised by the Society for the Protection of the Rights of the Child (SPARC) at the Peshawar Garrison Club on Thursday.Labour Department Deputy Director Zahoor Ahmad said that according to official data, the number of child labourers in NWFP, excluding the Federally and Provincially Administered Tribal Areas, was one million. He urged efforts to ensure a society free from child labour, saying the situation would worsen if the government remained indifferent towards the issue.Social Welfare and Women’s Development Minister Kashif Azam said that children were the most vulnerable segment of the society, and needed special attention from the government and welfare organisations.
He said that child rights laws existed, but needed implementation. He said the NWFP government had been taking steps to adopt a system more safe and secure for the future generations.He added that the NWFP government had set up a child welfare home for the needy and poor children and that it had been striving to ensure free education for all. “We have provided free textbooks to students up to a matriculation level, and the drop out ratio in schools has fallen 10 percent,” he added. The minister said the government had planned to appoint female probation officers for women prisoners and to set up borstal institutions for juvenile prisoners.SPARC Regional Manager Jehan Zeb Khan said the organisation was striving to provide children with their rights. He said the organisation’s aim was to implement the existing laws and to urge parliamentarians to raise the child labour issue.NGO Khwendo Kor Chief Executive Maryam said that children were the country’s future. “Some people are misrepresenting our religion. If we follow Islamic teachings regarding human and child rights, we need no international conventions,” she said.Member of the Provincial Assembly (MPA), Dr Semi Mehmood Jan, said that children should be treated as human beings and not just as their parents’ property. She suggested that the government provide funds to set up juvenile detention centres in prisons. Law Department’s Section Officer Azeemullah Mashwani explained the Juvenile Justice System Ordinance-2000 (JJSO), saying, “According to the JJSO, juvenile cases should be decided within four months.”“According to the JJSO, the provincial govt is bound to set up juvenile courts for juvenile prisoners,” he added.
Source: Daily Times
Date:12/29/2006