Pakistan joins the world community today in celebrating the Universal Children’s Day 2017, which is an occasion for us all to reaffirm our commitment to the fundamental principles laid down in the United Nations Declaration of the Rights of the Child as well as our national obligations under the United Nations Convention on the Right of the Child.
Children are the most precious resource of any nation and the sole guarantee for its future. The Government of Pakistan is fully alive to its responsibilities towards our children, and is determinedly striving to ensure that children’s to inclusive development, education, healthcare, participation, dignity and security, as envisaged in the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, are fully implemented and protected. Only recently, we have taken a very significant step towards this objective by promulgating the National Commission on the Rights of the Child Act, 2017, which provides for an effective institutional mechanism not just to monitor implementation of children’s rights, but also to ensure that laws relating to children’s rights and the administrative agencies responsible for implementing these laws are producing the requisite outcomes. Further, we are strengthening existing legislation and introducing new laws to protect the rights of children in areas where they are most vulnerable, such as employment and marriage.
We have instituted the National Plan of Action for Human Rights, which embodies substantive interventions to address issues relating to, amongst others, child protection, discrimination, labour, and education. The provincial governments have also taken various legislative and programmatic initiatives to safeguard the rights of children. There are, of course, many predicaments, including social imperatives and resource constraints, but the Government of Pakistan stands resolved not to jeopardize the nation’s future by ignoring our greatest common asset. I am confident that with government organizations, civil society bodies, philanthropist establishments, human rights groups, the corporate sector and international development partners all coming together on one platform, no difficulty will be insurmountable, and very soon our children will also enjoy the same care, nurturing, protection and opportunities that are available to children in the more advanced nations of the world.