The Rights of the Child Commission highlighted several issues affecting children across the region as it submitted its annual report covering the period 2017-2018 along with digital copies of reports covering the 2018-2020.
These reports were handed over to the Speaker of the National Assembly Manzoor Nadir on Wednesday. Chairperson of the Commission Aleema Nasir said that the commission members travelled to the ten administrative regions and have met with many communities and state actors.
“We are very distressed at some of the findings we had found in the regions especially, there is a lot of neglect, there is a lot of abuse, a lot of incest and you know these things have been bothering us,” Nasir told the media, “there are a lot of things that are happening to our children, a lot of them are not in school especially now with COVID, a great many of them are not in school, they are not exposed to schooling of any sort.”
The Commission has made several recommendations with the aim of addressing some of the issues raised. Commission Member and Lawyer Rosemary Benjamin-Noble explained that some of the recommendations are “standard” or are made in every report. Among those recommendations is that children should be educated about their rights and the Rights of the Child Convention. She said too that another recommendation is that persons should be encouraged to uphold the convention.
The Commissioner said that the commission received complaints that principals of schools are not :fully conscious” of the rights of the children as she said decisions are made about expulsion and suspension of students which is a violation of the convention. Benjamin-Noble said that too that engagements like these should not be left up to the commission solely but can be included in school management training.
The Commission has used its youth camp over the years to raise awareness on several issues affecting children as well as build capacity among youth leaders to address those very issues. Those youth leaders would then return to their communities and or schools to impart that knowledge. The COVID-19 pandemic did not see any youth camps being held over the last two years.
Speaker of the House, Manzoor Nadir in accepting the reports said that these would be tabled as soon as parliament resumed sitting. No date has been set for that resumption.