ISLAMABAD: Speakers at a seminar ‘Loving Children by Law’ called for effective implementation of laws protecting children rights.
The seminar was jointly organised by Konrad Adenaur Stiftung (KAS) and Society for Enforcement of Rule of Law (SERL) under their ‘Rule of Law’ initiative, a programme which was initiated five years ago to strengthen legal structures of Pakistan with a particular focus on the capacity building of lawyers, judges, media personnel and law students.
Experts not only discussed the international obligations to Pakistan regarding children but also discussed legislation and policies extended for children in Pakistan’s criminal laws.
Speaking on the occasion, Islamabad Bar Council (IBC) Vice Chairman Qazi Rafiuddin Babar said, “Unfortunately, millions of children suffer violence, exploitation and abuse from all socio-economic backgrounds, across all ages, cultures and religions worldwide.”
Sarah Coleman, the chief child protection officer at UNICEF, said that children’s compulsory right to education is legally protected and hence it should be enforced by all means. She was of the view that implementation of laws is the basic requirement to ensure a better protection to the children.
Islamabad Bar Association Vice President Raja Ansar Abbas highlighted the issues related to child labour and explained its difference with child work. He notified that poverty is an unmanageable and uncontrollable factor in Pakistan, which is an unfortunate cause of child labour.
SERL President Tariq Bilal underscored the need of child protection laws and mentioned that it is not only obligatory as per the constitution and laws of Pakistan “but is also mandatory as per our religion and there are clear-cut instructions mentioned in Quran about child protection”.
Muzamil Aftab highlighted that in Pakistan 72 infants die out of 1,000 live births every year. Out of these 72 deaths, 53 infants die of diarrhea, pneumonia, respiratory infections and malnutrition before reaching age of one month due to lack of breastfeeding and unhygienic bottles although consumer protection laws and acts regarding children are present in Pakistan.
In a robust discussion that followed during the session, participants agreed that government, civil society organisations and media should work in liaison with one another for creating an effective implementation of the existing laws. They said the laws should change how the children are viewed and treated. The legal community called on the government to increase
funding for vulnerable children, especially for children with
disabilities (CWD). A general consensus emerged that legislation should be rationalised for special children as well.
The seminar was well attended by policy makers, legal experts and members of civil society and media. Nominated personalities including Raja Muhammad Aleem Khan Abbasi, Haroonur Rashid, Muhammad Bilal, Raja Ansar Abbas, Shahid Hussain Jasra, Fiaz Ahmed Jandran, Tehmina Mohibbulah, Tariq Bilal, Shehzadi Samreen Tariq, Muhammad Saifullah Gondal, Sheraz Ahmed Gujjar, Babar Bilal, Kaleem Ullah Tarar attended the seminar.