Lahore: Offices of District Child Commissioners have been set up in all districts of the province to safeguard the rights of the children below the age 18 years and District Advisors concerned have been assigned to look after the offices. It is responsibility of the state to protect the children’s rights to education, nutrition, shelter, adequate living standards and citizens must raise voice on violation of the same. Children, their parents or common citizens may send complaint to Chief Provincial Commissioner for Children or District Child Commissioner or inform on Helpline 1050 in case of abuse of child rights, said Ombudsman Punjab Javaid Mahmood.
He was addressing the participants of workshop on child rights in connection with 25th Anniversary of United Nations Convention on Rights of Child. Chief Provincial Commissioner for Children Ms Nasreen Farooq Ayub, National Commissioner for Children Ejaz A Qureshi, Former Minister and Vice President Bunyad Foundtion Ms Shaheen Attiq ur Rehman, UNICEF Child Protection Officer Ms Peta Gaye, Child Rights Activist Iftekhar Mubarik and District Child Commissioners of 36 districts also participated the workshop.
Ombudsman Punjab Javaid Mahmood said that Pakistan, being signatory of the Child Rights Convention of General Assembly, was bound to implement the same but it was observed that issues of children did not matter while formation of policies by the decision makers.
National Commissioner for Children Ejaz A Qureshi said that absence of willpower to resolve the issues of health, security, education and food always leave impact on children seriously but they cannot express their feelings. He said that Office of Ombudsman Punjab was providing a platform to such children as they had serious constraints and could not come forward.
Shaheen Attiq ur Rehman while addressing to the participants said that no one will come from outside to protect the rights of our children and we have to stand for that. She said this is the time to stand up for the rights and bright future of our generation.
UNICEF Child Protection Officer Ms Peta Gaye appreciated the outreach plan of the Ombudsman Punjab, Javed Mahmood and said that Punjab has taken a lead in establishing offices of District Child Commissioners in all districts of the province. Ombudsman Punjab has made best use of available resources and it is such a noble idea that other provinces will have to follow on the same lines now, said Ms Peta Gaye.
Child Rights Activist Iftekhar Mubarik said that major part of the population of the country consist of the age group under 18 but there is no dedicated department/ministry at provincial as well as federal level to look into the problems and issues of the children. Even there is no legislative cover for the children working in homes for 24 hours as they are being deprived of education, food and liberty.
Chief Provincial Commissioner for Children Nasreen Farooq Ayub presented performance report of the office and said that it was time to become voice for voiceless children. She assured that Ombudsman Punjab Office was determined to implement Child Rights Convention in letter and spirit. Registrar Ombudsman Punjab Shahid Abbas, Ehsan Ghani, Noor ul Ain Zafar and Saleem Khan also addressed.