LAHORE - The civil society urged the government to implement recommendations accepted by Pakistan to improve the situation of human rights in the country under the Universal Periodic Review, generally known as UPR.

This was demanded at a media briefing on Pakistan’s International Obligations towards Child Rights organised by Child Rights Movement and Search For Justice to review government’s performance to implement Children’s Rights specific UPR’s recommendation, through legislative, administrative and other possible measures.

Reema Omer from International Commission of Jurists shared that The Universal Periodic Review (UPR) was a mechanism under which the Human Rights Council examines the human rights situation in every member state of the United Nations. Each State is examined once every four years. The UPR is an inter-governmental process whereby the human rights records of a given country will be reviewed by other countries. During the last review, she said, Pakistan was given a number of recommendations for taking appropriate administrative, legislative and other measures to improve the overall situation of human rights. Human Rights Council will review performance of Pakistan in November 2017. Being a responsible member of international community, government must fulfil obligations under Universal Periodic Review, she said.

Rashida Qureshi, Coordinator Child Rights Movement & CAN Pakistan, shared that there was no mechanism of collection of children’s rights violation data. She regretted that despite incidents like sexual abuse and exploitation in Kasur, government did not come up with Child Protection Policy or any plan of action or road map to prevent such incidents in future. Both federal and provincial governments have lot to do in terms of action for implementing UPR’s recommendations to show seriousness with child rights issues.

Child Rights Activist Iftikhar Mubarik shared that in 2012 Pakistan was urged to undertake measures including establishment of independent monitoring mechanism, enact legislation to prohibit and prevent the employment of children as domestic workers, ratification of the Optional Protocol to UNCRC on the involvement of children in armed conflicts, expedite the adoption of the Charter of Child Rights Bill which is pending since last many years, 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, take steps to implement laws and policies with a view to eliminating early and forced marriage.

Child Rights Movement’s member Sana Khawaja regretted that the government has not come up with legislative action to prohibit child domestic labor, as this was contemporary form of slavery too. She appreciated prohibiting child labour at brick kilns and demanded similar steps to address the issues of child domestic labour.