President says Pakistan is obligated to provide children with access to development opportunities.

ISLAMABAD (Dunya News / APP) - Universal Children’s Day is being observed today (Sunday) to promote international togetherness, awareness among children worldwide and improving children s welfare.

The theme of the day this year is Stop Violence against the Children.

United Nations Universal Children’s Day was established on November 20, 1954.

On the same date in 1959, the UN General Assembly adopted the Declaration of the Rights of the Child and also approved the Convention on the Rights of the Child in 1989.

Special events, seminars and conferences are being arranged in Pakistan on public and private sectors to observe the day.

President Mamnoon Hussain while reaffirming the commitment and determination to safeguard children’s rights said the Government has undertaken all necessary measures to ensure better livelihood, education, healthcare and protection of children.

“Let us re affirm our commitments to provide our children with a conducive environment in helping them become useful citizens of this country as well as productive members of the global village,”

He said as a signatory to the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC), Pakistan remained in the forefront to advocate, protect and promote child rights.

“Our resolve towards child welfare continues to reflect in our state policies,” he added.

The President said Islam enjoined upon them the sacred task of care, protection and development of children.

“Pursuant to our religious and international obligations, the Government is fully cognizant of the need for protection and development of children, who are our greatest asset,” he noted.

He said as an Islamic Republic, they were obligated to promote best interests of children and provide them with access to development opportunities without any discrimination.

The President emphasized that the protection of child rights and ensuring equal opportunities to them required a strong and robust partnership between public and private agencies.

He called upon the parents, teachers, members of civil society, NGOs, volunteers, philanthropists, international development partners, media and corporate houses to play their constructive role towards promotion and protection of the rights of children.

The President appreciated the efforts of Ministry of Human Rights for promulgating the Criminal Law (Second Amendment) Act, 2016, which explicitly provided for stringent and deterrent punishment for offences against children including exposure to seduction, child pornography, sexual abuse and human trafficking.

He also appreciated non-government organizations for advocating and highlighting the child rights as well as related issues and expressed the hope that they would continue to pursue this important mission with the same zeal and spirit.

Minister for Human Rights, Senator Kamran Micheal has said that Pakistan stands firm in its commitment and accords top priority to children in ensuring their survival, protection, development and participation rights.

“The celebration of this Day reminds us of our obligations and commitments for the rights of our children,” he said.

“At the regional level, Pakistan is also signatory to the SAARC Convention on Regional Arrangements for the Promotion of Child Welfare in South Asia; and SAARC Convention on Preventing and Combating Trafficking in Women and Children for Prostitution,” HR minister said.

Despite the fact that Pakistan is facing many challenges, a number of policy, legislative, administrative and programmatic measures have been taken by the Ministry of Human Rights, Senator Kamran said.

The Ministry is implementing a National Plan of Action on Human Rights which has an exclusive chapter on child protection, child Labour, education and other measures for ending discrimination and violence against children.

“The Ministry of Human Rights has already drafted Islamabad Capital Territory Child Protection Bill, 2016. The Juvenile Justice System Bill, 2015 has also been drafted after elaborative consultations at national and provincial levels,” he said.