Lawmakers attend child rights legislative review
ISLAMABAD: Pakistan ranks 151st among 181 countries in the 2019 global ranking on child rights, lagging behind many countries in South Asia.
This alarming situation has driven parliamentarians, policymakers, government, international development partners and civil society organisations to join hands and address the issue.
They came together at a national parliamentary consultation on child rights legislative review at the Pakistan Institute for Parliamentary Services on Tuesday.
Chaired by Speaker National Assembly Asad Qaiser, the goal of the consultation organised in collaboration with Unicef as a part of the 30th anniversary of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) was to work on a legislative review aimed at identifying gaps in legislation.
Govt, development partners and civil society join hands to improve child rights as Pakistan ranks 151 among 181 nations
It will also prioritise actions that needed to be taken for every child to realise their rights.
Pakistan ratified the CRC in 1990, less than a year after it was first ratified globally, and pledged to undertake all measures for the welfare, development and protection of every child.
The 30th anniversary of the convention (CRC@30) will be commemorated on Nov 20.
MNA Mehnaz Akber Aziz, who heads the Special Group on Child Rights-CRC of the National Parliamentary Task Force on SDGs, said: “In view of the importance of the 30th anniversary of the CRC, and acknowledging that Pakistan has not performed well with respect to child rights, our country should avail of this opportunity to initiate reforms that will enable every child to realise their rights.”
Realising the crucial role, which children play for national development and the importance of helping them realise their rights, the task force on Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) created the 10-member special group.
The event helped sensitise parliamentarians and policymakers about the constitutional and international commitments of Pakistan in the context of the CRC.
Speaker Asad Qaiser remarked: “Pakistan’s present and future depend on the realisation of child rights, including their right to survival, development, protection and participation. With 39 per cent of Pakistan’s population under 18 years, the latest data shows Pakistan has 80.4 million children. This makes it imperative for laws, policies, programmes and interventions to champion the rights of the child effectively.”
MNA Riaz Fatyana, convener National Parliamentary Task Force on SDGs, said: “The priorities of the incumbent parliament and the task force are in line. I hope that the provincial and legislative assemblies will follow suit and replicate the same within their respective assemblies.”
Unicef representative Aida Girma said: “Pakistan was one of the first countries to ratify the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. It has made progress in a number of areas to advance children’s rights. Yet due to poverty, millions of children in the country continue to be left behind, deprived of services that are essential for their health, nutrition, education, protection and participation.”
She said parliamentary consultations on child rights presented an opportunity for lawmakers and other stakeholders to take stock of the progress made since the ratification of the convention, identify gaps in the legislation, and renew their commitments to protect and promote all of children’s rights.