HR ministry identifies priority areas to create awareness on child rights: Mazari
Islamabad: Federal Minister for Human Rights Dr Shireen Mazari on Thursday said the Ministry of Human Rights had identified key priority areas to create awareness on the prevention, protection and redressal of issues related to child rights.
The ministry in collaboration with the European Union today launched an awareness campaign to educate people about protecting children against sexual abuse, she added.
Addressing an event held here in this connection, the minister said, “Safeguarding children is our Islamic duty, constitutional duty and is in line with our international commitments of the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC).
“The government through the ministry is committed to fulfilling obligations to our children,” she added.
Mazari said her ministry was focusing on protection of children from abuse.
She said the issue of child abuse should not be treated as a social taboo.
“We are hesitant to speak about this issue instead of educating our children.”
She stressed the need to make child abuse a disgraceful act, urging parents and teachers to realize their responsibility by education their children and students about its preventive measures.
She said besides legislation and its implementation, awareness was important in fighting against such an issue.
Mazari said educational institutions could play an important role to prevent child abuse by educating students.
She shared the Ministry of Human Rights had established Helpline 1099 to report issues related to human rights, including the child abuse.
She said that the Zainab Alert Bill, which was with the National Assembly’s standing committee, would ensure protection of rights of children.
Secretary Human Rights Javeria Agha talked about the National Plan of Action for the Rights of the Child.
The ministry, she said, had a holistic approach to ensure that the rights of children were addressed properly. It was primarily done through ensuring prevention, protection, rehabilitation / reintegration, participation and learning mechanisms.
The government was interested in creating behaviour change through targeted awareness campaigns, enforcing justice and making systemic change through the establishment of institutions i.e. the National Commission on the Rights of the Child, she added.
Goodwill Ambassador for the Campaign, Shehzad Roy (Sitara -e- Imtiaz) emphasized on the need for preventive initiatives and also provided insight on how important it was for the society to notice the signs that child survivors of abuse and exploitation expressed silently.
“We have come on in leaps and bounds in recent years by successfully advocating for both defensive and preventive policies to combat child abuse,” he added
With passing of bills criminalizing corporal punishment through to the integration of life skills-based education in some provincial government schools, millions of children would be saved from abuse, he added.
Participating child representatives (Fariha Zamir and Qaiser Khan ) explained how those laws led to the establishment of pilot child courts in the provincial and federal capitals in collaboration with a visionary judiciary.
The children pledged to continue their work with the ministry and combine efforts for juvenile justice reform, legislation, building capacities and developing response mechanisms to contribute to the overarching goal of promoting child rights and ensuring justice for children.
Some short documentaries were also shown to the participants of event to create awareness.
The participants included ambassadors and dignitaries from EU countries and UN agencies as well as non-governmental organizations, academia and civil society organizations.