CRM consultation on children’s rights: Implementation of Universal Periodic Review recommendations urged

LAHORE: Rights activists have urged the provincial government to devise a comprehensive plan of action to ensure the implementation of child rights accepted and noted by the Pakistani government during Universal Periodic Review (UPR) in Human Rights Council (HRC) session held in 2012 in Geneva. 

Participants of a consultation organised by the Child Rights Movement (CRM) at a local hotel on Thursday regretted over what they called “non-serious” attitude of the provincial government in implementation of recommendations given by different countries during the UPR. 
Child Rights Activist Iftikhar Mubarik said that on October 30, 2012, Pakistan was reviewed second time after four years by the HRC and was given a number of concrete recommendations for taking appropriate administrative, legislative and other measures to ensure the provisions of rights recognised by the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC). 
He said that Pakistan was urged to undertake measures to maximum extent of their available resources, including establishment of independent monitoring mechanism; to enact efficient legislation to prohibit and prevent the employment of children as domestic workers; to ratify optional protocol to UNCRC on the involvement of children in armed conflicts; to expedite the adoption of the Charter of Child Rights Bill which is pending since last many years at national level; to strengthen measures aimed at providing protection and assistance to vulnerable segments of society, including those children affected by natural disasters to protect them from trafficking and exploitation at work; to take steps to implement laws and policies with a view to eliminating early and forced marriage; to continue its efforts for a systematic and sustained training process of child as well as developing the Child Protection Management Information System (CPMIS) and advancement in child immunization; and to ensure and allocate sufficient resources for girls’ education in all provinces. He regretted that the federal as well as provincial government were far from fulfilling the commitments made during the UPR. 
Sajjad Cheema from SPARC stressed joint efforts by civil society organisations and governments to devise a clear plan of action to ensure the implementation of UPR recommendations in vast interest of children. He regretted that no provincial department had come forward as a focal department to coordinate with different government departments, which were responsible to implement the UPR recommendations despite the passage of about two years. 
He also stressed that Punjab Assembly must pass a resolution, demanding the federal government to enact pending legislation on children’s rights as well as for ratification of optional protocols to the UNCRC.
CRM Punjab Focal Person Nazir Ahmed Ghazi said that the CRM would keep the implementation of UPR’s recommendation in its long-term agenda and would adopt all possible means to advocate the protection of children’s rights by taking on board all relevant stakeholders. Ghazi demanded the provincial government to show seriousness and declare a focal department – either the Implementation and Coordination Department or the Human Rights and Minority Affairs Department – to coordinate with government functionaries to ensure the compliance of UPR’s recommendations.

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