President Dr Arif Alvi Saturday while urging society to be compassionate to children and respect their rights, also called on the world to live in peace and stop wars that were creating havoc for children.
“We must stop these wars. They are creating havoc as far as children are concerned. The entire Middle East – imagine what is happening to Rohingyas, imagine what is happening to the Kashmiri children, imagine what is happening throughout the Middle East. We must stop wars. The biggest burden of war is on women and on children,” the president said.
He was addressing an event held in connection with the celebration of the World Children’s Day here by the Human Rights Ministry.
Minister for Human Rights Dr Shireen Mazari, UNICEF Country Director Aida Girma-Melaku and diplomats from various countries were in attendance besides children from different parts of the country.
He said the children usually brought smiles on faces but whenever they were in trouble, they brought tears to eyes, recalling the terrorist attack at Peshawar’s Army Public School and the plight of Palestinian children.
He said after two world wars, Europe agreed for no more war but the rest of the world was looking like a battlefield featuring oppression and cruelties like in the Middle East and Libya and world’s irresponsible attitude towards refugees.
Referring to the common practice of domestic child labour, the president said those doing it on the pretext of supporting a poor child should give them care and love, equaling their own kids.
He also called for strict implementation of laws against child pornography and repeatedly advised parents to be vigilant on their children’s whereabouts to protect them against sexual exploitation besides encouraging the children to be expressive of any bad touch.
Reiterating the incumbent government’s commitment to addressing malnutrition and stunting through Ehsaas and other initiatives, the president also referred to Quranic verses calling two-year mother feeding of babies as the biggest source of nutrition which was now being strongly advocated by WHO and health experts.
In her address, Human Rights Minister Dr Shireen Mazari said Pakistan had ratified seven core UN conventions on children’s rights to manifest its commitment for fulfilling the obligation of a better atmosphere and education and health facilities to them.
Citing legislation to prohibit domestic child labor, the establishment of Zainab Alert Authority and Zainab Alert Response and Recovery facility, she said the PTI government was focused on improving the children’s lives through multiple initiatives.
He said through Ehsaas, the government was giving incentives to parents for sending their kids to schools and extending health facility under Sehat Card.
Drawing attention to the plight of refugees, and western policies targeting specific countries, the minister called for the United Nations to speak out on the discrimination.
In her address, UNICEF Country Director Aida Girma said, “In Pakistan, we have worked with the authorities and communities for 73 years, from earthquakes and floods, to development programmes.”
She said the UNICEF would continue to support the Government of Pakistan to generate evidence and develop child-centered, targeted interventions to reach the most marginalized children.
Pakistan was one of the first countries to ratify the Convention, which has since become the most ratified human rights treaty in history.