‘Take a stand for our children’
LAHORE: Offices of district child commissioners have been set up in the province to address issues of child abuse and safeguard the rights of children, Punjab Ombudsman Javed Mahmood said. The offices will be supervised by district advisers.
The ombudsman was addressing participants of a workshop on child rights in connection with the 25th anniversary of the United Nations Convention on Rights of Child on Tuesday.
According to a statement issued by the Ombudsman’s office, children and their parents as well as other citizens will now be able to file complaints against abuse of child rights to the chief provincial commissioner for children or district child commissioners. They can inform the office on the 1050 Helpline.
Addressing participants of the workshop, Mahmood said being a signatory to the Convention on Rights of Child, Pakistan was duty-bound to implement measures to protect child rights suggested in it.
“However, it is unfortunate that rights of our children are completely ignored at the policy level,” the ombudsman said.
National Commissioner for Children Ejaz A Qureshi said there was a lack of political will to solve issues of health, security, education and food security. He said these issues impacted children the most. “Yet children are not given a platform to voice their opinions or feelings.”
The office of the Ombudsman has taken a revolutionary step in this regard, he said. “It will address concerns of children who feel that no one listens to them.”
Addressing participants of the workshop, Shaheen Attiqur Rehman said, “No one will come to protect the rights of our children…we have to stand up for them.”
She said it was every citizen’s responsibility to protect the rights of children. “We need to ensure a bright future for our kids,” Rehman said.
UNICEF Child Protection Officer Peta Gaye appreciated the ombudsman office’s outreach plan. “The Punjab has taken a lead in establishing offices of district child commissioners in the province. This step is commendable.”