Office of Chief Provincial Commissioner for Children (OCPCC) was established with the support of UNICEF in 2009 and was upgraded in 2013. The project extended its outreach to all 36 districts of the Province of Punjab. The activity of this office has been enhanced by appointing District Commissioners Child Rights throughout Punjab.
The role and function of the Provincial Commissioner for Children is as under:
- Address Maladministration by Provincial agencies and handle individual complaints
- Study, Diagnose and Advice on systemic issues concerning Children’s Rights
- Monitor Implementation of Child Commissioner’s Recommendations
- Awareness Raising on Children’s Rights Violations.
- Proactively bring Children’s voice in policy making arenas
Primary function of this office is to examine and investigate complaints made by or on behalf of children in accordance with Act X of 1997. The Office is independent and impartial; it is neither an advocate for the complainant nor an adversary to the Government department. The Office seeks to promote swift resolution of complaints at local level, where possible; and it aims to achieve systemic change through its investigatory work by tackling the root causes of the complaints. The aspect of accessibility has been identified by the Ombudsman Punjab as an essential component to the work of Chief Provincial Commissioner for Children.
The key challenge to CPCC office is lack of awareness regarding child rights and its violation. Birth registration is the cumbersome issue which needs due consideration 35 of concerned authorities. SOS village was facing problem in registration of the children in board of intermediate and secondary education because NADRA was not issuing B-Form and smart cards. In this regard Chief Provincial Commissioner for Children facilitated them in registration of 50 children for B-form and smart card. In May 2015 NADRA agreed to provide them services for B-form and smart card.
Chief Provincial Commissioner for Children, Office of the Ombudsman Punjab organized awareness sessions at D.G Khan, Sargodha, Gujranwala, Pakpatan, Sahiwal, Okara and Multan with all District and Tehsil Child Commissioners. Chief Provincial Commissioner for Children drew attention to various issues/problems of children in Punjab specifically targeting children of South Punjab. In these sessions DCOs, Social Welfare Department, Govt. stakeholders, CBOs and NGOs were engaged in districts for the betterment of vulnerable condition of children. CPCC also mobilized prominent NGOs and developed referral mechanism with them for quick redressal of complaints of children.
Capacity building and training sessions were also arranged by OCPCC for District Commissioners Child Rights in Lahore in September and December 2015. In these sessions training was imparted to District Commissioner Child Rights regarding rights of the children and role of OCPCC was identified in resolving issues like child labour, sexual abuse, corporal punishment, missing facilities in schools, child neglect at family level & children without parental care, beggary, child marriages, sale of children, disabled children and street children.
OCPCC has also developed communication and advocacy strategy to support the promotion of an enabling environment for children to 36 districts obtains their rights. In this regard seminar was arranged in September 30, 2015 in which government departments and NGOs participated.
Children Complain helpline “1050” was established in 2015 as a toll free service. This service was not widely publicized or utilized last year. The escalation in children rights violation and increased levels of awareness; it became clear that the helpline is quite useful.