KARACHI: Society for the Protection of the Rights of the Child (SPARC) organized a consultative discussion among child rights activists on the eve of International Human Rights Day 2020 at local hotel, here Wednesday. This event gathered senior level duty bearers who discussed the need of increased investment on children in the light of United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) and COVID-19 and stressed on legislative development in the country to save the rights of children.
Veerji Kolhi, Special Assistant to Chief Minister of Sindh on Human Rights, mentioned that approximately 47% of Pakistan’s total population comprises of children under the age of 18. The present government is committed on uplifting the status of children. He mentioned that Pakistan ratified UNCRC in November 1990 but only 24% of laws in Pakistan are in compliance to its requirements. Bringing these legislations in conformity with UNCRC and their effective implementation is a key priority for the government.
SPARC’s Executive Director, Sajjad Ahmed Cheema shared that children have been biggest victims of COVID-19 pandemic. Their access to education, health, nutrition, protection, mental and physical development, has been dealt a heavy blow.
Ms. Kishwar Zehra Member National Assembly highlighted that free and quality education is fundamental right of every child according to article 25-A of constitution however Pakistan’s spending on education is lowest in South Asia and one of the lowest in the world while other stake holders and legislators discussed the challenges arising in pandemic and gave their valuable suggestions how to deliver best quality education in current situation as well as enlighten a rapid increase in child sexual abuse, child marriages and their trafficking for commercial and sexual purposes and government is just taking the cosmetic measures to tackle all child related issues.
Kashif Mirza, SPARC’s Media and Communication Manager, moderated the session and in his opening remarks shared the statistics. “Unfortunately, Pakistan hasn’t delivered on its international and national commitments towards child rights,” he said.
Parliamentarians from PTI, Dr. Seema Zia, Dr. Sanjay Kumar, From MQM Ms. Ghazala Sial, Ms. Mangla Sharma, Government Officials, Child Rights Activists, educationists attended the event.
The participants were in harmony that considering the current challenges, if Pakistan does not increase resource allocation for child rights the survival of our children will be at stake.