CSOs Demands Higher proportion of resources must be allocated for Child Rights in Punjab

Society for the Protection of the Rights of the Child (SPARC) with the support of Save the Children Pakistan organized a High level Consultation on Increased Budgetary Allocation and Expenditures on Children in Punjab. The event was organized by the collaboration of Child Rights Movement-Punjab.

Child Rights activists demanded the Federal and Provincial governments to increase resource allocations to improve the status of child rights in Pakistan

Mr. Naeem Ahmad (Program Coordinator, SPARC, LHR) said that special measures are required to safeguard the rights of vulnerable children.  There is a need to increase overall spending on child rights especially the percentage of developmental budgets in education, child health and nutrition, and child protection.

He highlighted inadequate spending as a key reason for Pakistan failing on most of the child related indicators of Development Goals. He raised concern that unless adequate budget is allocated for child rights, Pakistan will fail to meet the requirements of Sustainable Development Goals as well. He concluded that all political parties will have to unite and make across the board efforts otherwise Pakistani children will continue to suffer.

Miss Irum Fatima ( Provincial Coordinator, Bedari), said federal and provincial government must ensure that budgets for all children related indicators are released in time and are not subjected to random cuts. Budget allocations should also include a higher proportion of non-salaried rather than salaried expenditure and there should be increased focus on development budget in order to overcome the challenges in Pakistan. In addition, all the programming must respond to the damage caused by COVID-19 pandemic.

Waqas Abid Advocate (Provincial Coordinator, Child Right Movement Lahore), mentioned that major infrastructural reforms are required to uplift the living standard of Pakistan’s children. Whether it’s health and nutrition, hazardous labor, early marriages, trafficking, sexual abuse and exploitation; significant reforms are required to ensure that rights of all children are protected and delivered.

He shared CRM recalled Pakistan’s Prime Minister Mr. Imran Khan’s first speech to the nation in which the PM mentioned about the dire state of children health in Pakistan. He further added the despite such big commitment, we see that there is still no improvement in child health. In budget, there is no special allocation for child health and nutrition.

He further highlighted that Pakistan has not made much progress on its commitment of providing free and quality education to every child according to article 25-A of constitution. He mentioned that according to official statistics, Pakistan has 22.84 million out-of-school children (age 05 to 16) which is the 2nd highest figure in the world. Allocating the salaries of teachers does not equate to working on

Education. Adequate budget should be allotted to convert primary schools in to middle and secondary schools to curb down the drop-out-ratio of children.

Mr. Ahmar Majeed Advocate (Member Child Rights Movement & Child Rights Expert), also spoke on the occasion and said that the initial perception of COVID-19 effecting only elders and people with prior health conditions has long gone. People have realized that children, have been the biggest effectives of this situation. Their access to education, health, nutrition, protection, and mental and physical development, has been dealt a heavy blow. If the policy makers do not consider this reality in resource allocation for child rights, the very survival of our children will be at stake.

Nazeer Ahmad Ghazi, Muhammad Khalid Meo, Miss Maham and Miss Sana also addressed the Seminar.

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