Search For Justice/CAN Pakistan, a member of GNRC–Pakistan, in partnership with the local government and the Australian High Commission in Pakistan, organized a two-day workshop from 13th to 14th March 2018 to discuss sustainable solutions towards preventing violence against children in Pakistan. The workshop, which took place in Faisalabad, Pakistan, was attended by thirty five (35) participants from the local government, civil society organizations, community leaders and officials from the Australian High Commission. The Deputy Mayor of the Municipal Corporation of Faisalabad, Mr. Sheikh Muhammad Yousaf, graced the workshop.
The workshop looked at the context of violence against children in the area with great emphasis put on radicalization into violent extremism, domestic and sexual abuse. It was clear that violence against children affects everyone and it was high time community stakeholders owned the fight against child violence. It was stressed that if the world won’t end or reduce violence against children by 2050, then the economy of most, if not all countries will drop drastically. This will be as a result of elders failing to protect the young at a tender age.
Search For Justice educated the participants on the importance of protecting children from violence. They shared about the rights of children as enshrined in the Convention on the Rights of the Child, including the right to basic rights, right to education, right to identity and right to freedom from exploitation among others. Search For Justice pointed that it is the moral duty for parents, the society and the government to ensure that a child is protected from all harm. The Australian High Commission also relayed the importance of instilling proper values in children. Values such as discipline, peaceful coexistence and tolerance among many others, were identified as some of the practices needed in child upbringing.
Participants acknowledged that children have the right to express their opinions and to have those opinions heard and acted upon when appropriate. They also agreed that children need to be protected from abuse or exploitation, to have their privacy protected, and the law requires that their lives are not subjected to excessive interference. Mr. Yousaf assured participants his full support in allocating funds that will address issues of child rights protection and he fully committed to ending violence against children in all its forms. The GNRC member in Pakistan and program coordinator for Search For Justice, Ms. Rashida Qureshi, also shared GNRC’s pledge to securing a better world for children with the Panama Commitment on Ending Violence Against Children highlighted as a successful outcome reached by participants during the GNRC 5th Forum.