Incumbent opens a child protection centre

By Staff Reporter
Friday – June 11, 2021
ISLAMABAD: In the run up to the world day against child labour (June 12), the human rights minister (HRM) Shireen Mazari inaugurated, on Thursday, the opening of the Aitzaz Hasan Child Protection Institute (AHCPI).

According to a press release, the institute has been established, in the federal capital, under the Islamabad Capital Territory Child Protection Act 2018, which was drafted by the human rights ministry to protect children from all forms of physical or mental violence, injury, neglect, maltreatment, exploitation, and abuse.

The AHCPI will provide protection services to vulnerable and at-risk children.

HRM Mazari reiterated the incumbent regime’s commitment to safeguarding the rights of children and eliminating child labour in all of its forms, stressing its physical and psychological dangers.

“Ensuring the rights of children is a key priority of the incumbent regime, and the new child protection institute is a significant milestone in this concentrated effort to prevent the abuse, injury and exploitation of children in Pakistan,” she said.

The AHCPI will provide rescue, shelter, counselling, family tracing, and rehabilitation services to street children, child labourers, or children who are trafficked, lost and neglected.

HRM Mazari emphasised the recent, concrete steps taken by the human rights ministry to strengthen legislation and protect children’s constitutionally guaranteed rights.

The case of 8-year-old Zohra Shah, who was ruthlessly killed by her employer, prompted the human rights ministry to propose a significant amendment to classify child domestic labour as a “hazardous occupation” under schedule 1 of the Employment of Children Act 1991.

The human rights ministry also runs a national helpline 1099 to register complaints of human rights’ violations countrywide and ensure prompt redressal.

The human rights ministry secretary Inamullah Khan stated that it is intolerable that children should be working in exploitative or dangerous conditions, and the human rights ministry is playing a proactive role in protecting children from the detrimental mental and physical impacts of child labour — in line with Pakistan’s constitutional and international obligations.

He noted that the new child protection institute represents a critical step in Pakistan’s sustained efforts to safeguard children’s rights and safety.