Government committed to protecting rights of children: President Zardari


Islamabad: President Asif Ali Zardari today called upon the Federal Government to expedite the proposed Child Protection (Criminal Law) Amendment Bill. He also called upon the Federal and Provincial governments to ensure that all provisions of the Optional Protocol to UN Convention on Rights of the Child are implemented in letter and spirit.

He said that by ratifying Optional Protocol to UN Convention on Rights of the Child, Pakistan has taken yet another important step to promote the rights of our children in accordance with our moral and ethical values as well as democratic principles.

During signing ceremony of Instrument of Ratification of Optional Protocol to UN Convention on Rights of the Child on sales of Children, Child Prostitution and Child Pornography, held at Aiwan-e-Sadr today, the President said that today Pakistan has joined the ranks of 118 countries that have ratified this Optional Protocol and by ratifying this important document, we have further advanced the agenda of Shaheed Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto for improving the lot of our children.

According to prepared text of the speech, the President while congratulating the children of Pakistan said that it was the vision of Shaheed Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto who pioneered the Summit for Children in the 90’s. He said that it was under her leadership that Pakistan was one of the six countries that initiated the World Summit on Children and signed and ratified the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child in 1990. It was during her government that Pakistan became among the first twenty countries that signed and ratified the UN Conventions on the Rights of the Child, he said.

The President said that the present Government was committed to promote and protect the rights of children. He said that we are determined to ensure the well-being and development of our children in a safe, loving and caring environment. This is our political manifesto as well as our religious responsibility, he said. Our Constitution guarantees protection to the children, he continued.

The President said that in line with our religious, moral and constitutional obligations, we are mindful of our responsibilities towards our children. The President said that the children being the real asset of the society, we would ensure that our children are protected from all kinds of exploitations and abuses so that they could develop and achieve their full potential. He said that sale of children, child pornography and other crimes against children must be curbed and children are protected from harm and exploitation.

The President said that child exploitation particularly exploitation of girl child was the product of a number of inter-related factors. These factors include poverty, under development, socio-economic disparities, irresponsible attitudes and criminal behaviour, he said. Expressing firm resolve to address all these multiple factors, the
President emphasized that the responsibility to protect children was a collective responsibility which requires the collective efforts of all of us—the Government, the people and the civil society.

Expressing hope that every concerned would live up to this shared responsibility towards the children, the President called upon the Federal and Provincial governments to review all provisions of the UN Convention and its Optional Protocol and take steps to implement them. He also called upon the Federal Government to expedite the proposed Child Protection (Criminal Law) Amendment Bill.

The President, on this occasion, complimented the National Commission for child Welfare and Development for its efforts to implement the UN convention of the Rights of the Child. He also complimented Capital Administration and Development division, provincial governments, UNICEF and national and international NGOs and civil society in helping make Pakistan a child friendly State.

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