South Asians for Human Rights

Promoting Democracy, Upholding Human Rights

Senate Chairman Raza Rabbani Tuesday said more than two dozen laws were there to safeguard children’s rights but they await implementation.

Failure of governance at different levels had plagued the country and all resources of the state were not being used for welfare of the masses. The state cannot turn a blind eye to the rights of children, said the chairman at a panel discussion on ‘Child Protection Agenda 2017’ organised by human rights organizations on Tuesday.

The event was addressed by Federal Ombudsman Salman Faruqui, human rights activist Hina Jillani, the National Commission on the Status of Women chairperson and Syed Tallat Hussain.

Rabbani said that effective implementation of the existing laws, including child labour and under-age marriages, could substantially improve the situation but this was not possible without the active role of the state and state institutions.

He said that the provincial and federal institutions, which are responsible for implementation of these laws, were not even in a position to give details of these laws. He said that the issue of child protection could not be addressed without understanding its context, as it was closely associated with poverty and ignorance. The Senate, he said, had unanimously adopted a bill on ‘Unattended Orphans, which was subsequently sent to the National Assembly, but it had not been considered. “We are now planning to move the draft bill during the joint sitting of parliament,” he said, adding that the Senate was very much alive to such important issues, however, parliamentarians could be sensitised on the issue. “We mostly take up issues when they come to the limelight but a proper follow-up is missing.” He said that the issues regarding child protection and child marriages must be taken up in the Council of Common Interest (CCI), and added that the 18th constitutional amendemnt must not be blamed for failure of different instutitions given the chronic nature of issues. He said that the country was being run by a group of ruling elite, which wanted to maintain the status quo.

“Human rights organizations are the only oxygen available to the society and if these institutions are compromised, it will be disastrous for the country,” he said, adding that efforts were afoot to make the Senate a transparent institution.

He said all segments of the society should play a collective role to overcome issues confronting the country.

Updated On: 01-Feb-17