PM’s message on Universal Children’s Dday Nov 20, 2013

It is a matter of great pleasure for me that our nation joins the international community in celebrating the Universal Children’s Day today. Being cognizant of the conditions that children are facing, the Government is continuously undertaking reforms to cope with the challenges ahead. Education up to primary level has became compulsory and free for all children after the insertion of Article 25-A in the Constitution.

The government is establishing an independent and autonomous National Commission for Child Rights. Bill on banning the corporal punishment in school is also in process. Child Commissioners have been appointed under the ambit of Ombudsperson at Federal and Provincial level to address the grievances of the children. The government has established child protection centres at federal level, in Islamabad, Child Protection Bureau at Punjab and Child protection centres in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.  Similarly, PakistanBait-ul-Mal is maintaining 30 Pakistan Sweet Homes for orphan and needy/homeless children and 158 centres for rehabilitation of child labourers across the country.

This year, Universal Children’s day is being commemorated with the theme “Stop Violence against Children”.

After having ratified the United Nations’ Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) in 1990 and its Optional Protocol on Sale of Children, Child Prostitution and Child Pornography in 2011, Pakistan is committed to implement their provisions in true spirit. I reaffirm my pledge for protection of child rights in the country to make children useful citizens and productive members of the global village. Pakistan being the prime mover of the SAARC’s apex body “South Asia Initiative for Ending Violence against Children”, is effectively contributing for ending violence against children at regional level.

Creation of a violence free society and ending child abuse is one of our priority areas. Every effort will be made to achieve this objective as the future of Pakistan lies with our children. This is our national duty to protect the best interests of children and provide them equal opportunities without any discrimination and disparity. I, therefore, call upon the civil society, NGOs, philanthropists, international development partners, media, corporate sector and particularly the children themselves to come forward and play their effective role for protection of child rights, thus making Pakistan a child-friendly country. The Ministry of Law, Justice and Human Rights is making all out efforts for protection and promotion of child rights in collaboration with the relevant stakeholders and duty bearers in the country.

I urge all stakeholders to sincerely undertake the required legislative, administrative and social sector reforms to create an enabling environment for children. I also appreciate the UN agencies and Non-Governmental Organizations for their efforts for continuously advocating and highlighting child rights.

May Allah bless us in this noble cause, Ameen!