NCHR launches guidance for migrant children’s protection

By Myra Imran
May 25, 2024
NCHR Chairperson Rabiya Javeri Agha seen in this undated photo. — World Justice Project/File

Islamabad: Aimed at providing technical guidance for the government, law enforcement and child protection authorities to protect migrant children, the National Commission on Human Rights (NCHR) has launched a technical note on protection for children on the move.


“The technical note complements our study titled Perilous Journeys: Unravelling Irregular Migration from Pakistan and addresses child protection issues arising during various migration processes” said Rabiya Javeri Agha, chairperson of the NCHR.

The technical note has been developed with technical support from UNICEF Pakistan and UNHCR Pakistan. This group of children includes internal migrant children, children in need of protection, internally displaced children and international migrant children. Within those groups, unaccompanied and separated children (UASC) are particularly vulnerable to violence, exploitation and abuse, even more so when those children have disabilities.

The technical note underlines that climate crisis, security tensions and poverty have caused many internal waves of migration. “The 2022 Pakistan floods displaced over 7 million people and affected more than 33 million people. Today, over 1.3 million people remain displaced in the 30 worst-affected districts in Sindh, Balochistan and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP), the majority of whom are in the top five affected districts in Sindh .”

NCHR held several consultations with children, civil society organisations (CSOs) as well as law and policy makers to advocate for the right of children to be protected from exploitation and abuse, particularly for the most vulnerable, including children on the move. The NCHR has handled several complaints related to children on the move and conducted visits to various detention facilities. These visits identified children on the move as well as children in conflict with the law. NCHR in collaboration with law enforcement and the judiciary offered legal assistance to detained juveniles, adhering to the Juvenile Justice System Act 2018, facilitating the release and reunification of 93 children with their families.

The Technical Note is a resource, a capacity-building and technical support for the government. It outlines international best practices related to children on the move. Such localised guidance is essential for law enforcement agencies and provincial child protection authorities to manage cases of unaccompanied and separated children on the move -whoever they are- in accordance with the country’s constitutional and international obligations. The note “offers user-friendly tools, resources and diagrams based on tangible real life scenarios, to guide duty-bearers on how to protect children that are unaccompanied and separated ones from their families”. said Valerie Khan, author of the technical note.