CII endorses Child Protection Bill

ISLAMABAD Rejecting reservations of the Federal Cabinet over the enhanced child criminal age limit proposed in the National Child Protection Bill, the Council of Islamic Ideology (CII) has endorsed the said Bill saying that it does not conflict with the Islamic teachings. Earlier the Cabinet sent back the Bill to the Ministry of Social Welfare and Special Education assigning objection over increasing child criminal age limit, which is 7 at present, but the Ministry has proposed to increase it from 9 to 11 that is being practice in neighbouring countries. The Ministry was asked to consult the CII whether or not increasing the criminal age limit was in conflict with the Islamic ideology. The Council supported Ministrys stance and the Ministry of Social Welfare and Special Education after getting the Bill back from the Council sent it to the Interior Ministry, which would table it before the Cabinet for its principled approval. According to an official of the Ministry, it took almost two years to the Ministry of Social Welfare and Special Education to complete both the Child Protection Policy and Child Protection Bill. Basically child protection legislation is a provincial matter and Punjab already has the Punjab Destitute and Neglected Children Bill 2004, while the other three provinces Balochistan, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Sindh are still without any legislation on this issue, he added. So the Bill would be put into effect in federal areas as well in other three provinces, which need it immediately, he continued. National Commission on Child Welfare and Development has prepared the National Child Protection Bill to implement recommendations of UN committee effectively and fulfil national, regional and international commitments regarding child rights. The Bill seeks to provide requisite statutory status to the commission for effective performance, supervision and coordination of child rights matters including establishment of Child Rights Fund for protection of children. According to the Ministry official, now it is responsibility of the Interior Ministry to submit the Bill before the Cabinet for final approval. The Child Protection Bill will handle all issues related to child protection such as institutional support and family rehabilitation etc. The Bill also aims at establishing centres on district level on the pattern of National Child Protection Centre, Islamabad. The centres would rescue and recover children suffering from violence and abuse. It also seeks to provide them rehabilitation and reintegrate them in mainstream society.

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