11/21/2006, 00.00
PAKISTAN
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NGOs tell government to make fewer promises and do more for children

by Qaiser Felix
On Universal Children's Day, Pakistani NGOs tell government to do more than ask the population to protect children. More than 10 million children are exploited and live in poverty.

Islamabad (AsiaNews) – Pakistan is urging its population to protect the rights of children, but NGOs involved in protecting children's rights say the government should make fewer promises and take more actions for the millions of children who barely survive in the country.

Yesterday, Universal Children's Day, Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz's office released a statement reiterating that Pakistan has always been an advocate for the of rights of children at the international level and a signatory to various human rights treaties, including the United Nations Convention on Rights of the Child and the International Labour Organisation Convention on the Elimination of Child Labour.

For its part, the Ministry of Social Welfare and Special Education has released a report on 'Violence against children'.

Muhammad Hassan Mangi, head of the National Commission for Child Welfare and Development, said that the Commission's main goal was to provide education and healthcare facilities to poor, working and street children.

But NGOs and child rights advocacy groups depict a less rosy picture about the fate of children in Pakistan. They urge the government to use less rhetoric and do more for the "more than 10 million Pakistani child labourers who are exposed to almost all types of exploitation and abuses with no opportunity to exercise their right to childhood."

Ejaz Ghauri, president of Human Development Net, a Catholic development and human rights organisation, said the government should do more. Instead "of merely making promises, it should take care of our children who are our future."

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