Issues of child abuse; Govt urged to make National Commission on Rights of Children functional
ISLAMABAD: Participants of a consultative meeting held at the Wafaqi Mohtasib Secretariat demanded the government to make National Commission on Rights of Children (NCRC) functional to address the issue of child abuse at the all level.
Aimed at highlighting the issues of child abuse in Pakistan and seeking recommendations from stakeholders, the meeting was attended by Chairman National Committee on Children Senator Dr. SM Zafar, Chairperson of the Task Force on Transgender Senator Rubina Khalid, Senator Farhatullah Babar, National Commissioner for Children Ejaz Ahmad Qureshi, Member, National Committee on Children Shaheen Attiqur Rehman, Commissioner for Children Syeda Viquar-un-Nisa Hashmi, senior Adviser Wafaqi Mohtasib Hafiz Ahsaan Ahmad Khokhar and other prominent members of civil society.
The meeting discussed Zainab’s rape and murder case in Kasur and proposed to take immediate and sustainable measures for eradicating this menace.
As an immediate measure, it was decided that a team led by Senator Dr. SM Zafar, which will include Shaheen Atiqur Rehman and senior representative of provincial Mohtasib, Punjab to visit Kasur and meet Zainab’s family as well as the families of eleven other victims of such tragedies in the recent past in Kasur in order to mobilize and provide legal, psychological and financial assistance.
The visit and meeting with the families would be followed by a comprehensive need assessment plan; which would help identify areas which require immediate attention on brutal violence against children.
Addressing the meeting, Secretary Wafaqi Mohtasib Secretariat Mohammad Asghar Chaudhry said that there are huge challenges regarding the rights of children to safe and secure life, social justice, education, better health facilities, proper food, adequate living standards and finally protection against all kinds of social and sexual abuses and discrimination in society.
“There is a need to study causes and systemic failures which lead to child abuse. At the same time we need to undertake long term measures to help victims and their families,” he said.
Senator SM Zafar stressed the need of police sensitization and training as they are the first ones to handle issue of reported crimes. He emphasized awareness among parents to report missing children immediately.
“Only recovery is not important but protection of children is necessary”, he remarked.
SM Zafar also asked for separate allocation of budget and funds for children issues annually so that mechanisms can be established to facilitate people at grassroots level.
Senator Rubina Khalid, Chairperson of the Task Force on Transgender, pointed out that it is responsibility of the state to bear cost of DNA in case of sexual abuse. Senator Farhat Ullah Baber demanded that year 2018 should be declared as “Year of Children”.
Chairperson National Commission on Status of Women, Khawar Mumtaz shared that a sustainable strategy is imperative to root out this menace from the society. She added that as the DNA is mandatory in child sexual abuse cases so it should be responsibility of the state.
She also informed that NCSW has established a core group engaging all stakeholders working on child rights issues including civil society, human rights activists, to work out a quick response mechanism.
Additional Director Interior Ministry, informed the meeting that unfortunately around 45 million children are living below poverty line who are more vulnerable. He said that ample legislation has been done on rights of children but now the issue is implementation.
Commissioner for Children, Federal Ombudsman Office, Shaheen Atiqur Rehman proposed that Deoxyribonucleic Acid (DNA) should be linked with Nadra for curbing ratio of crimes in the country.