A civil society organisation, Idara-e-Taleem-o-Aagahi (ITA) celebrated Children's Day on Wednesday in collaboration with the Children's Library Complex (CLC), with over a 100 students and delegations from the government, civil society, and the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF).
The event sought to remind children of their fundamental rights, as premised on the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC). The children asked the special guests to make pledges to secure their rights, including the right to life, right to identity, right to healthcare, right to be raised by parents, right to quality education, right to express their opinions, right to protection, right to proper nutrition, right to play, right to protection from corporal punishment and exploitation of all kinds.
The delegations signed pledges made committing them to improve Pakistan’s current global ranking on child rights, a dismal 151 out of 181 countries.
In her welcome address, ITA CEO Baela Raza Jamil said that the essence of ITA’s inspiration lies in children's rights. She stressed that there is an urgency to ensure better and consistent legislation there is an imperative to improve actions for securing the rights promised in CRC, adding that Pakistan was one of the first countries to ratify the CRC. Jamil acknowledged UNICEF’s role in rallying attention to child rights and mobilizing parliamentarians to see the close linkage between children's rights and the the UN's Sustainable Development Goals.
CLC Chairperson Ms. Marriam Khokhar eloquently highlighted the importance of child rights and thanked ITA for organizing the event.
Mr. Wilbroad Ngambi renewed UNICEF’s commitment to meet the rights of children and regretted how 22.8 million children are out of school in Pakistan. He said that the rights of children will be secured by
ensuring all these children are in school. “Let us pledge to make the world a better place for children – for every child, for every right,” he said.
Pakistan has the world’s second-highest number of out-of-school children (OOSC) with an estimated 22.8 million children aged 5-16 not attending school. Nearly 30 years after Pakistan ratified the CRC, no public coordinated child protection case management and referral system, as aligned with international standards, has been established while about 3.3 million of Pakistani children are still trapped in child labour.