ISLAMABAD: Federal Minister for Human Rights Mian Riaz Hussain Pirzada on Tuesday reiterated his commitment to upholding the rights of children in accordance with country’s Constitution and our international legal obligations.

The minister passed these remarks while speaking at policy briefs “Pakistan’s Implementation of the Convention on the Rights of the Child” and Pakistan’s Compliance with ILO Labour Conventions, launched by Justice Project Pakistan (JPP) and Parliamentarians Commission for Human Rights (PCHR).

The launch was part of the GSP+ week, where JPP and PCHR are holding week-long high-level consultations. “The objective of the consultations is to foster constructive dialogue, shed light on problematic areas, and formulate a plan of action that could contribute to Pakistan’s re-application for the new GSP+ scheme. The outcome will play a crucial role in reflecting Pakistan’s progress and efforts over the past decade under the GSP+ arrangement,” said Sarah Belal, the Executive Director of Justice Project Pakistan.

According to a press release, Pakistan is currently facing a range of challenges, including political tensions, environmental issues, security concerns, economic struggles, and high inflation.

During the event, panelists shared their expertise and insights on Pakistan’s progress in fulfilling its obligations under the Convention on the Rights of the Child. The panel included Ms. Ayesha Raza, Chairperson of the National Commission on the Rights of the Child; Iqbal Dhetto, Chairperson Sindh Commission of Human Rights; Syed Miqdad Mehdi, juvenile justice lawyer and it was moderated by Valerie Khan, child rights expert.

Former Senator Farhatullah Babar spoke about the significance of data collection and the need to form a national database on juvenile justice with statistics of children caught in the criminal justice system. He said “Just by enforcing the law on birth registration, we would tackle so many issues, such as child marriage, forced conversion of children, children on death row and in jail…Children’s protection cannot be separated from the mother’s protection, no law and no constitution provision can protect a child better than a mother can do.” Several other speakers also spoke and shared their input.

Published in Dawn, June 7th, 2023

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