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ISLAMABAD: Pakistan on Friday called upon the international community to pay heed towards the plight of oppressed children in the Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu and Kashmir (IIOJK), and urged India to immediately stop its illegal and inhuman policies and practices that were in contravention of its own obligations under the Convention on the Rights of Child (CRC).

"On the World Children's Day, the plight of children in IIOJK should not be forgotten," said Foreign Office in a statement, adding that these children, living in one of the world's largest prison, deserve urgent attention of the international community, particularly the United Nations.

It stated that the over 15-month long physical and digital siege with frequent incidences of house demolitions, arbitrary detentions and use of force, including through pellet guns, have traumatized children in the IIOJK, and denied their basic rights to life, education, and health. "The international community must be sensitive to the plight of oppressed children in IIOJK and urge India to immediately stop its illegal and inhuman policies and practices that are in contravention of its own obligations under the CRC," the Foreign Office asserted in the statement.

On the occasion of the World Children's Day, commemorated each year on 20 November to mark the anniversary of the adoption of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Child (CRC), it added that Pakistan reaffirms the right of every child to grow, learn, play and flourish in a safe, responsive and friendly environment, free of distress, hunger, fear and oppression.

As a party to the CRC and its two optional protocols, it stated that Pakistan is committed to upholding the promotion and protection of human rights of all children and fulfilling its national and international obligations in that regard.

It added that Pakistan has undertaken a range of institutional and legal measures to eliminate exploitation of children and their discrimination based on gender, religion, and ethnicity.

"We remain committed to eradicating the incidences of violence against children, child labour and forced marriages, while ensuring that the right to food, education, health and healthy environment is available to all children of the country," it added.

In August this year, it pointed out that Prime Minister Imran Khan inaugurated the Ehsaas Nashonuma Programme to provide food and nutrition to the underprivileged children and prevent their malnourishment and stunting of growth. Presently, 22 Nashonuma Centres are working in nine districts.

By the end of this year, the programme will be expanded to 52 centres in 12 districts, it stated, adding that the districts have been chosen on the basis of prevailing rate of stunting.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2020