ISLAMABAD - A coalition of civil society organisations in Pakistan, Child Rights Movement (CRM), has developed a six months plan along with its regional chapters to launch proactive advocacy campaigns on pending child rights legislation as well as taking new initiatives to ensure child protection in the country.
Hassan Mangi, Director General National Commission for Child Welfare and Development (NCCWD), led the opening session in which he iterated his expectations from CRM and appreciated its active role in highlighting children-related issues and recommending required reforms and legislations. He emphasised that these efforts must continue with an integrated approach, specifically in close coordination with likeminded entities at national, regional and international level. He insisted on the importance of working towards the development of a unified National plan of action.
While emphasising on working together, as a synergy, he also mentioned the possibility of linking CRM to the South Asian Programme. He recognised that Pakistan, on the state level, has been slow in implementing laws and conventions, and that makes advocacy an even more challenging task. He also touched upon the issue of true and meaningful representation of children from all walks of life at forums like CRM. Child protection mechanism was also briefly talked about and it was suggested that the gaps be tapped upon for ensuring a hundred percent coverage throughout Pakistan.
Arshad Mehmood, an eminent Child Rights Advocacy expert, suggested several key advocacy initiatives that CRM should take up in the current year. The more important ones include: passing the bill for National Commission for the Rights of Children (NCRC) as an independent body, enacting of the Criminal Law (amendment) Bill as committed by the government at the time of signing of the optional protocol of Child Prostitution and Pornography, ratifying of the optional protocol of involvement of children in armed conflict, developing of a legislation to provide protection to street children, introducing laws against corporal punishment in all provinces, amending laws related with child labour, initiating policy dialogue with political parties on enactment of article 25-A.
The workshop, hosted by the CRM Secretariat - Children First, was attended by several member organisations to the likes of SCI, Dost Welfare Foundation, SEHR, Thardeep Rural Development Plan, Action Aid, Global Vision Organization, Idara Taleem-o-Agahi, Bedari, Rozan, SPARC, Right to Play, Aghaz, World Vision Organisation, Group Development, UGood, and Plan International. There was significant representation from the government and media as well.