Lahore, Thursday, 17th February – In a media briefing organized by the National Commission on the Rights of Child (NCRC), the event presented a unique opportunity to strengthen the media and the Commission’s collaborative role in bringing focus on child rights and related legislations in Punjab. The Media briefing brought an active participation of journalists from print, electronic and social media from around the district.
Constituted in February 2020 under the National Commission on the Rights of Child Act 2017, The NCRC has been instrumental in advancing child rights and protection since its inception by delivering its mandate – examining and reviewing laws and policies, inquiring into child rights violations, contributing to awareness and advocacy initiatives, and carrying out research on policy matters related to child rights. Thus far, the Commission has followed-up on 165+ child rights violations, and issues ranging from street children, child abuse, children in care institutes and forced conversion.
The NCRC recognizes the importance of media in providing a platform to strengthen the cause of child rights and legislative reforms. Through media’s awareness raising, children and the youth will realize their full potential afforded to them through inalienable rights, so they can grow up to be leaders of tomorrow.
The Chairperson National Commission on the Rights of Child, Afshan Tehseen Bajwa, said, “The NCRC is committed to delivering its mandate of child rights. It is the role of the federal and provincial government, and the civil society – especially the media persons – to provide a platform for child rights issues. As a Commission, we are working to strengthen intra-provincial efforts. The Punjab Government is keen on legislative reforms and institutional working related to child rights. Today’s briefing will give the media a new agenda, which is, pro-children and pro-child rights.”
In Punjab, the NCRC continues to work with the Government of Punjab in Reviewing the existing, pending and proposed legislations related to Child rights in the province. The Commission has identified specific amendments in existing laws – including, Expansion of Scope of Punjab Destitute and Neglected Children’s Act 2004; Notification of Punjab Free and Compulsory Education Act 2014; Enforcement of Child Labour Laws in Punjab; Age Amendments in Child Marriage Restraint Act 2019; and, Implementation of the Juvenile Justice System Act 2018.
Minister for Social Welfare Department and Bait-ul-maal, Syed Yawar Abbas Bukhari, echoed similar sentiments, “The Punjab Government recognizes the importance of ensuring and codifying child rights and child protection within legislation. We have identified key areas for all children in need of protection – from legal support, rehabilitation, children with disabilities, counseling and neglected children. Let’s transcend beyond the beat assignments and play our part in emerging a new narrative on the protection of every child’s right.”
The NCRC Member, Dr. Rubina Bhatti reiterated the need for better oversight and facilitation of child rights services in the province, “Children should be our top priority, given the Punjab province is the most populous. The Commission recommends harmonization of the child age in all child-related laws and strengthening the systems of child institutes– we ask the media to go beyond event-based coverage and look at issues in-depth.”
To bolster legislation and governance related to child rights, the NCRC also recommends establishment of a strong referral and coordination mechanism through child protection systems, unified toll-free helplines, legal and psychosocial support complaint handling mechanism, and a database for human and child rights violators. In particular, the NCRC advises strengthening the Social Welfare Department.
Qindeel Shujaat – Head of Programme: firstname.lastname@example.org
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