“The government has failed to comply with international commitments to ensure the protection of children’s rights.” This was a unified voice echoed by Child Rights Movement (CRM) officials during a media briefing on Pakistan’s Commitment to securing Children Rights on 26th August 2017 at Lahore, Pakistan.
CRM, a member of GNRC, asserted that despite the government signing several international laws, it has not been fully implementing them, especially laws related to child rights.
The Provincial Coordinator of CRM, Rashida Qureshi, questioned why the government had not taken any action to implement the ‘Concluding Observations and Recommendations’ issued by the committee on the rights of the child in 2009 and 2016. Qureshi observed that in 2009, the state was urged by the United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child to take all necessary measures to implement the observation and recommendations. However, according to Qureshi, the concluding observations of the second periodic report have not yet been sufficiently implemented.
Iftikhar Mubarik, a child rights activist, said the basic problem was lack of data collection and policy mechanism for better implementation of the laws. “Our last data on child labour only was done in 1996, even before the census,” he said.
CRM member, Miqdad Naqvi, emphasized that the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) advocated for governments to end abuse, exploitation, trafficking and all forms of violence against and torture of children, citing SDG 8.7 which calls for immediate measures to eradicate forced labour, end modern slavery and human trafficking and secure the prohibition and elimination of the worst forms of child labour. Thus it is the government’s duty to provide policies and legislation that are in line with the SDGs.
The Child Rights Movement officials urged the government to develop a plan of action to ensure compliance with Pakistan’s international commitments for children’s rights adding that they are ready to help the government in implementation.