LAHORE: A consultative meeting has expressed its concern over delay in approval and adoption of child protection policy that could be a roadmap to act in a structured way to ensure protection of children from all forms of abuse and exploitation.

The meeting was organised at a local hotel by the Civil Society Network working for the child rights in the province.

Legal and human rights expert Asad Jamal sought devising a mechanism to ensure implementation of the UNCRC and other human rights related commitments made by the government. He also stressed ban on child domestic labour by making necessary amendments to “The Children’s Employment Act 1991” and if there is any technical problem then special legislation should be made to address the issue.

MPA Ms Marry Gill said the Punjab government was going to increase the minimum age of marriage for girls in compliance with international obligations. She said it had been decided to establish an independent commission to protect rights of children.

“The commission would also take on board all relevant departments and authorities to ensure the protection of children from abuse and exploitation,” she added.

Ali Imran sought intervention by the civil society to influence policymakers to create a favourable change in the lives of children.

Advocate Syed Farhad Ali Shah assured that the Punjab Bar Council would play its due role in proposed legislation i.e., The Punjab Restriction of Children’s Employment Act and any other law.

Atif Khan suggested that there was a dire need to establish a monitoring authority within the structure of the Punjab police which would ensure the transparent investigation of child abuse cases.

Child rights activist Iftikhar Mubarik said 2015 was being celebrated as 25th anniversary of Pakistan’s ratification to Child Rights Convention and still lot of efforts and actions were required by the government to ensure implementation of that convention.

Published in Dawn, February 27th, 2015

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