The Provincial Commissioner for Children (PCC) formely CCO, Ombudsman Punjab, established with the support of UNICEF in May 2009 provides an effective children grievance redress system and a dedicated forum for receiving and resolving complaints of children. In compliance with Article 12 of the United Nations Convention of the Rights of the Child (UNCRC), there is a need to establish an institutional arrangement for providing children with a voice in matters relating to them.
Awareness and Advocacy
A vigorous campaign has been launched in the electronic and print media which has brought tremendous feedback from the public. The Quarterly Newsletter of CCO is being published and distributed regularly. The United Nation’s Convention of the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) has been translated in Urdu and developed into a brochure for children and general public. The other promotional material like leaflets, Caps and Calendars have been prepared and distributed amongst the stakeholders.
Active Child Participation
Year 2010 marked the 20thanniversary of UNCRC across the globe. The CCO, therefore, planned its yearly activities focusing children’s participation and celebrated all the national / international days with zeal and zest.
CCO carried out more than 200 orientation sessions at various cities namely Gujranwala, Wazirabad, Rawalpindi, Sialkot, Faisalabad, Sheikhupura, Sargodha, Multan and Ikhlaspur (Shakargarh) including the provincial metropolis. Throughout the year, CCO continued to host awareness creating seminars for children, students, youth, parents, community associations and organizations.
Capacity Building of Stakeholders
Training workshops were organized with NGOs, media, govt. departments and lawyers’ community to develop a referral system.
A special orientation session titled “An effective Children Grievance Redress System” was arranged. Renowned Parliamentarians of all Political Parties participated in it and took a keen interest on the subject. They not only spoke with enthusiasm but also unanimously passed the resolution in favour of the protection of Child Rights. A Symposium was arranged on the eve of 10th National Child Rights Conference regarding CRC celebrations.
Child Friendly Investigation
Children Complaint Office has adopted a child friendly investigation procedure so that children have the freedom to express their feelings of maltreatment. CCO is committed to provide friendly environment for children so they can get their complaints registered without any fear or hesitation. Field visits are an integral part of child friendly investigation procedures.
The children going through maltreatment and abuse may suffer from symptoms of anxiety, depression, intense fear, shock, fits of anger, loss of sense of safety, disorientation, disillusionment, feeling of helplessness and suicidal tendency. CCO received more than two dozen complaints where psycho-social support was needed and the Consultant Psychologist provided individual and family counseling. The intervention sessions were conducted to get analysis of behavioral patterns of aggrieved children (complainants) and to facilitate a child friendly investigative process.
Research and Analysis
The case management requires research and analysis of the sensitive issues raised in the complaints registered by the children and parents. In this connection, a research report will be published soon, which will also be a ready reference for policy makers and students.
In 2010, 275 complaints were registered out of which 175 have been redressed while rest of the complaints are under investigation. In this context, 183 field visits were made.
Helping the Flood Affected Children
The CCO team visited flood affected areas of DG Khan, Muzaffargarh, Jampur, Rajanpur, Layyah and Kot Adu and arranged a program to bring smiles on the gloomy faces of affected children and helped them with items of need and cash. The team also celebrated Eid with the flood affected children.