STATE OF CHILDREN IN BALOCHISTAN, 2014
The Institute of Provincial Ombudsman, Balochistan since its inception i.e. 19th March, 2001 has been dealing with complaints of child issues for the protection of child rights and so far thousands of cases have been disposed of. However, there was not a separate section/cell which dealt with the complaints regarding children grievances.
At the outset on 01st October, 2009 a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) was signed with UNICEF for establishment of a proper Children Complaint Cell (CCO) in the Provincial Ombudsman, Secretariat in order to investigate complaints/cases pertaining to grievances of the children in Balochistan. Initially the CCO was sponsored by the UNICEF for (14) fourteen months in first phase and later on for one year in second phase, in face of that the UNICEF discontinued its financial support, the CCO was kept continue by this Secretariat through its own means.
Consequent upon up-gradation of CCO as Office of the National Commissioner for Children on national level in the office of Wafaqi Mohtasib in Islamabad, whereas on provincial level the CCO was up graded and named as Office of Provincial Commissioner for Children in Ombudsman Secretariat Balochistan as well and the senior most Director Syed Munawar Ahmed Shah was designated as Provincial Commissioner for Children, in order to take more effective steps for protection of child rights in the province.
In exercise of powers conferred under Section 18 of the Establishment of the office of Ombudsman for the Province of Balochistan Ordinance No.VI of 2001, the Hon’ble Ombudsman Balochistan constituted “Balochistan Child Rights Standing Committee” (BCRSC), in order to protect and monitor rights of the children and ensure accountability of Provincial Agencies charged with the task of compliance with the UNCRC.
Basically the purpose of constituting the “Balochistan Child Rights Standing Committee” (BCRSC) is to ensure protection of children’s rights in Balochistan. The committee will work towards incorporating the UNCRC through legal reforms and administrative policy. The specific objective of the BCRSC is to monitor and review the progress made under Action Plan for child related issues. More specifically, the committee shall perform its functions under the following Terms of Reference (TORs):
1. The Balochistan Child Rights Standing Committee shall function under the chairmanship of the Provincial Ombudsman (Mohtasib) Balochistan.
2. The committee shall hold a meeting on quarterly basis in a year, presided by the Provincial Ombudsman (Mohtasib) Balochistan. However, a meeting can also be called/convened anytime if an issue of urgent nature occurs.
3. The BCRSC shall constitute its quorum on simple majority basis.
4. The agenda of the meeting shall be prepared by the Secretary of the committee and circulated before the date fixed for holding the meeting.
5. The Balochistan Child Rights Standing Committee or each member of the committee shall highlight child rights issues and suggest possible measures to combat them i.e. child abuse, child labour, child trafficking etc. The highlighted issues and suggestions thereof shall constitute the agenda of the standing committee.
6. The committee shall look into the matters pertaining to children in need of special care and protections, including children in distress, marginalized and disadvantaged children, children in conflict with law, juveniles and children without family etc and recommend appropriate remedial measures.
7. The Balochistan Child Rights Standing Committee shall conduct a comprehensive review of all domestic and provincial legislation to ensure compliance with the UNCRC and its provisions.
8. The committee shall investigate non-implementation of laws framed for promotion, protection and development of children and recommend measures to the government for their effective implementation.
9. The BCRSC shall consider the experience and expertise of each member’s ministry or organization, in order to highlight child rights issues and possible measures for combating them.
10. The committee shall examine and observe the process and execution of laws governing the child welfare system.
11. The BCRSC shall recommend measures for ensuring compliance of policy decisions, guidelines or instructions to promote and protect children’s rights.
12. The committee shall raise awareness on child rights and protection of these rights through electronic & print media, seminars and other available means.
13. The Balochistan Child Rights Standing Committee shall perform such other functions as it deems necessary for the promotion and protection of children’s rights.
Regarding scrutinizing the children related complaints several Educational institutions were inspected in Sibi, Naseerabad, Zhob and Loralai Districts during the reporting year and found that most of the building accommodating the schools were in dilapidated condition, the roofs were ruined, children were confronting the issue of non-availability of clear drinking water and proper toilets.
In some schools teachers were found absent and rare were closed for a long period. The District Education Officers concerned were inquired on the spot and were directed to initiate the process for amelioration of the schools and make sure the easy provision of basic amenities such as clear drinking water, availability of toilets, provision of proper furniture and adequate ready writing material. These visits helped a lot to purge the schools of deficiencies.
Similarly the Jails in these districts were also inspected to know the predicaments of the inmates. The Juvenile barracks were visited specially and were found that the prisoners were lacking blankets, malaria sprays, HIV screening kits, snake bite infections inspections and lab equipments. The Prison authorities were directed on the spot to take initiative for arrangement of missing facilities.
Superintendent Jail was instructed to install the water filtration plant in the prison so as to provide clear drinking water to the prisoners in the interest of the good health of prisions. In Juvenile Barrack three juvenile prisoners were detained. It was found that no any computer or other equipments were provided except TV set. The Superintendent Jail was asked about it. He replied that they have some computers but the same have not been installed as yet, he promised to install a computer set and the Instructor will be appointed to provide training to the juvenile detainees and this facility will be provided as soon as possible.
The following laws on child issues had been in the year 2014, namely:
• Balochistan Compulsory Education Act, 2014
• Balochistan Breast Feeding Protection and Nutrition for Infants Young Children Act, 2014.
• The Balochistan Borstal Institution Act, 2014.
• The Balochistan Orphanages (Supervision & Control) Ordinance, 1978
• The Balochistan Domestic Violence (Preparation and Protection) Act, 2014
• Balochistan Child Welfare and Protection Bill, 2014 (Draft)
• The Marriage Prohibition Balochistan Bill, 2014 (Draft)
• The Balochistan Prohibition of Employment of Children Bill, 2014 (Draft)
During the calendar year 2014 Provincial Ombudsman (Mohtasib) Secretariat, Balochistan made the following achievements, namely:
• Getting Framed “The Balochistan Borstal Institution Act, 2014
• Getting Finalized “The Balochistan Child Welfare and Protection Bill, 2014 (Draft)
• Providing Educational facilities to 200 (Two Hundred) Girls Students of “Government Girls Primary School, Police Colony, Sibi
• Providing Educational facilities to 100 (One Hundred) Boys Students of Government Masjid Primary School for Boys, Sibi
• Allowing Hundreds of Students in Practical of Science Subject Examination
• Getting Admission in MBBS in Bolan Medical College, Quetta
FUTURE PLAN OF ACTION.
In the year 2015 international donor agencies will be contacted for financial support, so that the following targets can be achieved:
Through mass media campaign awareness will be created in the province in order to make aware the society about child rights to persuade the people to take active part to protect the children from every kind of violence.
On child Rights issues Seminars, Symposiums and Conferences will be arranged in far flung areas of the province.
Child Rights Monitoring Assistants will be appointed for one year who will guide the community for its active participation in child rights activities.
Making researches on child rights mechanism.
Preparing drafts for framing new laws on emerging issues of the children, etc.
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