The Child Rights Movement (CRM) Pakistan has welcomed a recent move about enactment of pending child rights related legislation at the federal level, said a press release.
CRM Pakistan is a coalition of over 200 civil society organisations working for protection and promotion of child rights across Pakistan.
Addressing a press conference at Islamabad, CRM Pakistan’s executive committee members lauded the steps of the Ministry of Law, Justice and Human Rights towards the enactment of the long awaited National Commission on the Rights of Children (NCRC) bill. The bill was forwarded to the National Assembly’s Standing Committee on Law, Justice and Human Rights for review in April, after it was placed before the Parliament.
The standing committee however, could not review the bill in its meeting held on July 13 and thus it was deferred. The organisation’s representatives demanded to call the meeting soon after Eid and to prioritise and forward the bill to the assembly for enactment without further delay.
CRM Pakistan Coordinator Noorul Islam said over the years in Pakistan, legislation on child rights issues has gained less or no attention by policymakers and one of the biggest reasons behind this is the absence of NCRC.
The bill is pending since 2001, informed Noor, adding that CRM Pakistan will continue to advocate for enactment of this and various other child rights-related bills and for establishment of an independent commission to work for promotion and protection of child rights in light of Pakistan’s constitutional and international obligations.
The organisation was concerned about various pending bills both at the federal and provincial levels and urged the federal and provincial assemblies to prioritise child rights-related legislation.
CRM Pakistan also appreciated the recently concluded consultative process by the law ministry and UNICEF for finalising the Juvenile Justice System (Amendment) Bill 2015 and hoped that this bill will be placed before the Parliament and enacted soon.
They urged the government to ensure budgetary allocations and demanded the federal government to focus on putting in place a strong child protection system in Islamabad, the Federally Administered Tribal Areas, Gilgit-Baltistan and Azad Jammu and Kashmir.
The previous National Assembly had passed the Prohibition of Corporal Punishment Bill 2013 on its last day in session however the bill lapsed as it was not passed by the Senate. Similarly, the Child Protection (Criminal Law) Amendment Bill 2013 was approved by the previous cabinet in its last meeting without any further progress, shared the members.
Similarly, though the ICT Right to Free and Compulsory Education Act was passed in 2012 by both houses of the Parliament, the law is not yet enforceable as rules have not been notified for its enforcement and implementation in letter and spirit.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 16th, 2015.