Khyber Pakhtunkhwa celebrates Universal Children’s Day 2023

F.P. Report

PESHAWAR: The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Child Protection and Welfare Commission, in collaboration with UNICEF, Islamic Relief and Special Education Complex Hayatabad celebrated the Universal Children’s Day 2023 under the theme “For Every Child, Every Right”.

The event was organized with full participation of children from the Special Education Complex, Peshawar and provided a dedicated opportunity to children with special needs an opportunity to express themselves through various activities during the event. Madam Justice Retired Irshad Qaiser the Honourable Minister for Social Welfare, Special Education & Women Empowerment Department, graced the event as Chief Guest. It was also attended by Mr. Muhammad Farooq, Additional Secretary, Social Welfare Department.

Said Ali Bakhsh, Director Special Education Complex, Peshawar, extended a warm welcome and shared insights during the welcome note, setting the stage for the day’s activities.

The day’s proceedings marked our unwavering commitment to the principles of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC), the Government of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, and the inclusive vision outlined in the Child Protection and Welfare Act of 2010.

The event showcased performances by children, including those with special needs, underscoring our collective dedication to creating a society where every child’s rights are not only recognized but actively protected and promoted.

The collaborative efforts for today’s events involved key stakeholders, including Mr. Said Ali Bakhsh, Director Special Education Complex, Peshawar; Mr. Ijaz Muhammad Khan, Chief Protection Officer, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Child Protection & Welfare Commission; Syed Naheed Shad, Area Program Manager, Islamic Relief Pakistan; Mr. Anwar Iqbal, Director Operation NCHD Khyber Pakhtunkhwa; and special thanks to Sohail Ahmad, the Child Protection Specialist from UNICEF Field Office Peshawar, who played a key role in the collaboration process.

Mr. Sohail added in his speech that this day is a day of self reflection for all us as duty-bearers. He also appreciated the efforts of KP government including the KP Child Protection and Welfare Commission and the civil society organization collectively working to towards the fulfillment of children’s rights.

He also reiterated that today’s theme for celebrating the universal children’s day is a reminder to us of ensuring the every child should get every right; without discrimination of any kind. He also shared with the participations some of the key child protection issues and challenges including child labour, child marriages, violence against children and lack of universal birth registration and emphasized on systemic solutions to these through collaborative efforts and right prioritization.
Ijaz Muhammad Khan, Chief Protection Officer, emphasized in his speech the pioneering role of the Government of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa in introducing the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Child Protection & Welfare Act on October 4, 2010. He highlighted that the Act serves as a focal point for effective supervision and coordination of child rights matters at provincial and local levels, implementing policies for the prevention, protection, rehabilitation, and reintegration of children at risk.

Ijaz Muhammad Khan further stated, “We are managing and supervising Child Protection Units currently operational in 12 settled and 9 Newly Merged Districts. At the divisional level in the district, we have the privilege of having eight Child Protection Courts, and the KPCPWC has provided services in 31,570 cases, including 19,647 boys cases, 11,916 girls cases, and 7 transgender cases.”

“At the district level, we have child protection committees working under the chairmanship of Deputy Commissioners, and we are expanding our child protection system into the community level,” he added.

In his vote of thanks, Additional Secretary Muhammad Farooq expressed gratitude for the collaborative spirit that made the event possible. He acknowledged the importance of joint efforts in aligning initiatives with UNCRC principles and the mandates of the Commission, emphasizing the need for a society where every child’s rights are championed and upheld.

Minister for Social Welfare, Special Education, and Women Empowerment, Justice Retired Irshad Qaiser, in her closing remarks, commended the collaborative spirit that made the event possible. She underscored the Government of Pakistan’s commitment to the protection, welfare, and overall well-being of children, as outlined in the Child Protection and Welfare Act of 2010.

The Minister acknowledged the pivotal role of partners, parents, teachers, and civil society organizations in shaping the future of the children of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.
As the event concluded, the Minister expressed confidence in a brighter and safer future for the children of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, urging continued collaboration and collective efforts to ensure the safety and well-being of every child in the province.