Peshawar - Child protection & welfare Commission with the support from UNICEF conducted a two-day workshop, for consultations with relevant stakeholders and children aimed at developing a comprehensive Child protection policy for the province.
The workshop was chaired by Zia-ul-Haq, Secretary for Social welfare, Special Education and Women Empowerment Department and facilitated by a team of consultants from Oxford programme Management (OPM). Ijaz Khan, Chief protection Officer, Kp Cp&wC in his opening remarks shared that the commission has drafted a comprehensive Child protection policy for the protection, welfare and wellbeing of the children living in Khyber pakhtunkhwa province.
The intent of this policy draft is to provide policy direction to all relevant government departments and institutions for ensuring the prevention and protection of children from violence, abuse, neglect, exploitation and harmful practices within their mandates and maintain an integrated strategy and referral system with Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Cp&wC and its district based Child protection Units as well as Child protection Helpline in situations of child protection incidences and reports.
He appreciated the participation of all relevant government departments, institutions and other stakeholders and urged them for meaningful participation in the review of the Child protection policy draft and provide their inputs for its necessary revision and finalisation. During the consultation with children on day two of the workshop, Ijaz also highlighted on the importance of consulting children in the policy development process and highly appreciated the inputs and views provided by a diverse group of children representing public and private schools, children from Zamung Kor, Boys Scout, Afghan Refugees and other organisations from various districts. Sohail Ahmad, Child protection Specialist from UNICEF, shed light on the objectives of the two-day workshop and the need for developing a comprehensive Child protection policy for the province. He highlighted that the policy should be developed within the framework of the United Nations Child Rights Convention ratified by pakistan on the 20th November 1990 while using the rights of children to protection as parameter for defining its intent and objectives.
He also emphasised on the need for making this policy inclusive of children in Khyber pakhtunkhwa so that no child is excluded from access to his or her fundamental rights, protection and wellbeing. He also highlighted the process of developing this policy and appreciated that the draft policy has undergone initial revisions in light of the Technical working Group (TwG) lead by Social welfare Department which has membership from various government departments, academia and civil society organisations. The participants invited to the consultation process on day first were experts from government departments including Home Department, Finance Department, planning and Developing Department, Law, Human Rights & parliamentary Affairs Department, police Department, Social welfare Department, Probation Department, Law and Judiciary and representatives from civil society organisations that work with children.
The participants on the second day of consultation process included children from government and private schools, children from Child protection Institute Zamung Kor, Group Development pakistan, Gandahara Organisation of Literacy and Development(Gold), Dost Welfare Foundation, Boys scout and children from peshawar, Charsadda, and Khyber including Afghan refugees children. Zia-ul-Haq, Secretary for Social welfare, Special Education and Women Empowerment Department, in his concluding remarks shared that in today’s society, protecting children is of utmost importance and he urged all the participants to ensure that the policy is effective, feasible, and culturally appropriate for the context in Khyber pakhtunkhwa, including newly merged districts.