ISLAMABAD: National Assembly (NA) on Wednesday passed a bill to constitute a national commission to protect ‘children rights’ with a majority vote. Human Rights Minister Mumtaz Ahmed Tarar moved the ‘National Commission on the Rights of Child Bill, 2017’ in the House.
The minister said that the bill was meeting all international standards and the commission would be an independent body as the majority of its members would be from outside the government.
Shireen Mazari, Nafeesa Shah, Dr Arif Alvi and Shazia Marri raised some concerns over the autonomy of the commission and contradiction in age limit regarding child marriages and criminal laws.
The bill’s statement of objects and reasons says: “Pakistan ratified the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) in 1990 and its optional protocol on sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography in 2011, thus obliged to implement these instruments, and report progress to the UN committee on the Rights of the Child Geneva every five years.”
The UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, while considering Pakistan’s 3rd and 4th periodic report during 2009, had urged the government of Pakistan to establish an independent commission to monitor, protect and promote rights of the child. The NCR of the child bill, 2015 had been prepared to fulfil Pakistan’s obligations under different international conventions in general, and the UNCRC in particular.