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June 19, 2021

Govt trying to protect rights of children through reforms: Mazari

 
June 19, 2021

Islamabad : COVID-19 has exacerbated socio-economic inequalities globally, but the government is taking proactive measures to ensure children are protected from child labour and its detrimental psychological and physical impacts.

This was stated by the Federal Minister for Human Rights Dr. Shireen Mazari, while speaking at a webinar marking the ‘Commemoration of International Year for the Elimination of Child Labour,’ organised by the UNDP.

The minister outlined the government's efforts to protect the rights of children through institutional mechanisms, evidence generation, awareness campaigns, and legal and policy reform. In her address, Dr. Mazari said, “Child labour is a violation of Pakistan's Constitution, which forbids children under 14 from undertaking hazardous work.”

“We are committed as a state to ending child labour in all its forms, in accordance to International Labour Organization laws and the International Convention on Rights of the Child, to which Pakistan is a signatory,” she said.

Dr Mazari described the legislative measures taken by provinces to protect the rights of children. All provinces have enacted laws to prohibit and punish child labour, such as The Balochistan Child Protection Act, 2016 and Sindh Prohibition of Employment Children Act, 2017. An amendment has also been introduced in the ICT Employment of Children Act 1991, which proscribes domestic labour by children under 14 years of age. Moreover, the National Commission on the Rights of Child has been enacted under the National Commission on the Rights of the Child Act, 2017 to monitor child rights/child labour situation in the country and take punitive measures to redress victims' grievances.

The minister also highlighted the recently inaugurated “Shaheed Aitzaz Hasan Child Protection Institute”, established under the ICT Child Protection Act, 2018, to provide care and protection services to vulnerable children at the ICT level child labourers.

The Institute also provides rescue, shelter, counselling, family tracing, and rehabilitation services to street children, or children who are trafficked, lost and neglected.

The Ministry of Human Rights is also in the process of finalising a National Action Plan on Business and Human Rights, with the support of UNDP, which proposes several federal and provincial actions to be taken for the protection, respect, and remedy of human rights within business activity, including actions related to the elimination of child labour.

The minister concluded her address by stressing that “It is intolerable that children should be working in exploitative or dangerous conditions and the Government is playing a proactive role in protecting children from the dangers of child labour – in line with Pakistan's constitutional and international obligations.”