ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has urged all provincial governments to take measures for implementing the recommendations of the National Commission for Human Rights to ensure a safe environment for children.
According to a statement released by the PM Office on Thursday, the provinces have been asked to put in place the requisite policy and operational framework, and take urgent steps for implementing the NCHR’s recommendations to ensure a safe environment for children and prevent recurrence of incidents like the Kasur child abuse scandal that was exposed this year.
The chief secretaries have been asked to ensure implementation of the recommendations.
The NCHR undertook a detailed analysis of incidents of child abuse and exploitation in the wake of the Kasur incident to address the issue of child rights and protection.
It recommended that “child protection systems should be reviewed and reformed in compliance with the provisions of the UN Conventions on the Rights of the Child”.
The prime minister said that budgetary allocations would be increased and administrative actions must be taken for child protection and assistance.
The provincial governments should take all necessary steps to implement a plan of action and devise a Child Protection Policy at the provincial and district levels, he said. They were also asked to promote awareness about child protection and rights in collaboration with the stakeholders.
The law-enforcement agencies, prosecution, judiciary, lawyers and social welfare departments shall be sensitised on the issue.
The provinces should revise the police laws besides appointing experienced prosecutors at the provincial and district levels and progress on legal proceedings related to child rights should be constantly monitored, the statement said.
The National Assembly recently approved The Criminal Law (Amendment) Bill 2015, proposing harsh punishments for exposing children to obscenity and criminalising child pornography. The bill is now with the Senate.
Law Minister Pervaiz Rashid said while introducing the bill that following ratification of the United Nations Convection on the Rights of the Child in 1990, “we are under obligation to implement its provisions by harmonising national policies, legislations, programmes and plans of action with it, and report progress to the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, Geneva, every five years”.
The existing criminal law statutes have failed to cover a number of serious offences such as child pornography, exposure to seduction, sexual abuse, cruelty and trafficking within the country.
Published in Dawn, December 25th, 2015