Islamabad - Pakistan has to go a long way to ensure all children enjoy the rights enshrined in the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC), as various bills related to child rights are pending at the national and provincial levels and budgetary allocation for children is still far below the desired level.

The Child Rights Movement Pakistan in collaboration with the department of sociology, Quaid-i-Azam University, and Save the Children Pakistan celebrated the 25th anniversary of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC).

In her opening remarks Habiba Salman, national coordinator of Child Rights Movement (CRM) Pakistan, said that Universal Children’s Day this year had special significance as it was the 25th anniversary of the UNCRC and there was a need to review what positive changes had been brought into the lives of children in Pakistan during the last 24 years.

“Pakistan has to go a long way to ensure all children enjoy the rights enshrined in the UNCRC. Pakistan was the first Muslim and 6th country in the world to sign and ratify the UNCRC on 12th November in 1990. Various bills related to child rights are pending at the national and provincial levels, budgetary allocation for children is still far below the desired level and ratification of the Optional Protocol to CRC on the involvement of children in armed conflict took more than a decade and still requires a push,” highlighted Salman.

Murtaza Javed Abbasi, the deputy speaker National Assembly, said that the federal and provincial governments in Pakistan were working to accelerate their struggle towards the implementation of the UNCRC in Pakistan in light of the concluding observations and recommendations of the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child and UPR recommendations.

Prof Dr Aitzaz Ahmad, vice-chancellor QAU, highlighted the role of academia in the promotion of child rights in Pakistan. He said that the conference was aimed to evaluate and analyse the state of child rights in Pakistan. Pakistan being party to the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child is responsible to formulate strategies for future course of action for the academia, society, national and international institutions and the federal and provincial governments to promote child rights in the country.

The academicians, scholars, researchers, students and NGOs activist must develop theoretical, conceptual and empirical work to analyse and understand the current state of child rights in the country. Researchers must share their recommendation with relevant stakeholders to enhance the child protection standards in the country, said the MNA Dr Tariq Fazal Chaudhry.

Stefano Gatto, deputy head of European Union delegation, emphasised how the GSP+ trade preference scheme was a win-win opportunity, enhancing economic growth for Pakistan through increased market access to the EU, while acting as a powerful incentive to strengthen the two sides, political cooperation and human rights situation.

Barrister Zafarullah Khan, special assistant to the prime minister and the chief guest, apprised the participants of the conference of the steps taken by the government of Pakistan for the implementation of the UNCRC and improving the state of child rights in Pakistan.

In his closing remarks Arshad Mahmood, director advocacy and child rights governance, Save the Children, said students and researchers were now required to be sensitive and creative in this era of rapidly growing knowledge for comprehensive understanding of various aspects of child rights following modern trends in social sciences to grasp, visualise and conceptualise them in a systematic way.