Dr. Shireen Mazari spoke in an online webinar marking the Commemoration of International Year for the Elimination of Child Labor, organized by the UNDP.
The Federal Minister for Human Right’s Dr. Shireen Mazari spoke in an online webinar marking the Commemoration of International Year for the Elimination of Child Labor, organized by the UNDP.
The Minister outlined the Government’s efforts to protect children’s rights through institutional mechanisms, evidence generation, awareness campaigns, and legal and policy reform.
Dr. Mazari stated that “child labor is a violation of Pakistan’s Constitution, which forbids children under 14 from undertaking hazardous work”.
She stressed that COVID-19 had exacerbated socioeconomic inequalities globally, but the Government is taking proactive measures to ensure children are protected from child labor and its detrimental psychological and physical impacts. “We are committed as a state to ending child labor in all its forms, in accordance to International Labour Organization laws and the International Convention on Rights of the Child, to which Pakistan is a signatory,” she said. Dr. Mazari described the legislative measures taken by provinces to protect the rights of children.
All provinces have enacted laws to prohibit and punish child labor, such as The Balochistan Child Protection Act, 2016, and Sindh Prohibition of Employment Children Act, 2017. An amendment has also been introduced in the ICT Employment of Children Act 1991, which proscribes domestic labor by children under 14 years of age.
Moreover, the National Commission on the Rights of Child has been enacted under the National Commission on the Rights of the Child Act, 2017, to monitor child rights/child labor situation in the country and take punitive measures to redress victims’ grievances.
The Minister also highlighted the recently inaugurated “Shaheed Aitzaz Hasan Child Protection Institute,” established under the ICT Child Protection Act, 2018, to provide care and protection services to vulnerable children at the ICT level child laborers.
The Institute also provides rescue, shelter, counseling, family tracing, and rehabilitation services to street children or children who are trafficked, lost, and neglected.
The Ministry of Human Rights is also in the process of finalizing a National Action Plan on Business and Human Rights, with support of UNDP, which proposes several federal and provincial actions to be taken for the protection, respect, and remedy of human rights within a business activity, including measures related to the elimination of child labor.
The Minister concluded her address by stressing that “it is intolerable that children should be working in exploitative or dangerous conditions, and the Government is a proactive role in protecting children from the dangers of child labor – in line with Pakistan’s constitutional and international obligations.”