Search For Justice (Children Advocacy Network – CAN Pakistan) organized a consultative meeting with key stakeholders including government officials, parliamentarians, media and civil society organizations to advocate for ending violence against children under the title, ‘Setting the way forward to end violence against children.’ Fifteen (15) participants attended the meeting, which took place in Lahore, Pakistan on 27th February 2019.
The child rights activists urged the government to introduce a comprehensive protection system that can secure the rights and safety of all children. Ms. Rashida Qureshi, the programs coordinator, Search For Justice, asked the Punjab government to expedite the process of developing a comprehensive child protection policy backed by efficient institutional mechanisms that will ensure government officials adhere to set regulations and serve the children of Punjab.
She also demanded for adequate support to the children particularly free legal assistance and counseling services to victims of violence, conducted in a manner that ensures their dignity is protected. Tending to the victims of violence and striving to prevent violence in the country is essential to achieving Agenda 2030 of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) towards an inclusive and peaceful society.
Search For Justice shared statistics on recent incidences of violence against children in January and February 2019. They lauded the quick response by the police in solving such cases and demanded their follow-ups by the departments concerned.
Participants unanimously agreed to;
- Formulate a Child Protection policy followed by an action plan with adequate financial and human resource to promote Child Protection;
- Train and build the capacity of teachers, police officers, media, government officials, parliamentarians on understanding Child Protection as well as the legal and institutional mechanism on Child Protection;
- Provide appropriate information and knowledge to empower children and adolescents from child abuse;
- Initiate prevention programs to educate masses on protecting children from all forms of violence, abuse, exploitation and neglect; and
- Establish independent commissions/authorities that will act as statutory body to oversee the child protection cases at the Punjab provincial level.
The DAWN National Newspaper covered the meeting.