Gilgit: In 2014, the Gilgit-Baltistan Departmental Development Working Party approved a project for establishment of a Child Protection Commission and Child Protection Units at a cumulative cost of 55 million rupees. The project, supported by United Nations Children Emergency Fund (UNICEF) was to be completed, by establishing a Child Protection Commission in the region, and also by establishing Child Protection Units.
Through the project, mentioned at serial no 39 of the 2014-15 Annual Development Plan (ADP), the government also intended to raise awareness about protection of vulnerable children, by organizing seminars, conferences and by raising awareness about the issue. The “Establishment of Child Protection Commission/Units” project received an ‘administrative approval’ during a meeting held in the first week of September 2014, and it was to be completed ‘within the given time’.
However, four years on, no trace of the commission or the child protection units can be found anywhere in Gilgit-Baltistan.
The governments’ failure in establishing the said child protection units and commission has left vulnerable children unaided and unattended. At the same time, the number of children sexually abused has been on the rise, with more and more reports coming to the surface, almost every month.
It is high time for the government of Gilgit-Baltistan to investigate why this commission has not been formed yet. The hurdles, whatever, need to be removed and the government needs to put in place mechanisms for protecting and supporting vulnerable children.