Tahira Jabeen - Citizen, Rights and Accountability


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  • although Section 25(3) further provides that this equal protection clause shall not prevent the state from making special provisions for the protection of women and children). However, most of these principles of policy are really only aspirations and intentions of the state. In addition, the use of gendered language as evidenced in the Constitution deprives vulnerable populations, such as women and children, from having a voice and from demanding their constitutional rights.
  • including laws relating to the criminal justice system, cultural issues, economic matters, education, family protection, health affairs, immigration, general welfare, registration and social welfare.Although these laws set rights and duties for children, which is a basic element in Marshal’s theory of citizenship, none of them directly addresses children’s citizenship.
  • According to the Pakistan Bureau of Statistics (2011), children aged 10-14 years make up 18.48 per cent of the Pakistani population, with a 13.08 per cent of the labour force participation rate, making this group 2.42 per cent of the entire civilian labour force. Another 16.21 per cent of the population makes up the 15-19 years age group, with a 37.02 per cent labour force participation rate, making this group 6 per cent of the overall civilian labour force.In fact, children’s participation is almost an alien concept for many policymakers in Pakistan. No child consultation/participation in the National Plan of Action for Children 2005 (NPA) , the National Policy and Action Plan for Elimination of Child Labour 2000
  • If children’s rights are not made central to the future development and their participation is not ensured, the country may not achieve its major development goals. By way of example;
  • Tahira Jabeen - Citizen, Rights and Accountability

    1. 1. Citizens, Rights and Accountability: A case for children (Pakistan) Tahira Jabeen University of the Punjab, Lahore, Pakistan
    2. 2. Outline • • • • • Children’s citizenship – an introduction Contemporary debates Methods and data for this presentation Analysis and discussion Implications for development futures
    3. 3. Children’s citizenship • Traditional view of citizenship - Marshall • Feminist, anti-racism challenge to the traditional view • Children, another, yet excluded population • United Nations Child Rights Convention (UNCRC), participation rights, a foundation for children’s citizenship
    4. 4. Contemporary debates • Welfarist view of children dependent, incompetent and vulnerable, need care, protection and guidance, their childhood is determined by adults • Children as citizens children are people, with strengths and competencies, need respect and recognition, children’s decision influence their childhood
    5. 5. Methods and data • Constructivist-interpretative research approach • Data sources i) in-depth interviews with policymakers ii) analysis of Pakistan’s children related legislative and policy framework • Thematic analysis
    6. 6. Analysis – legislative framework • Pakistan is party to the UNCRC, foundation for children’s citizenship (Art. 12) • The Constitution of Pakistan guarantees every citizen fundamental rights. For example; - the security of the person (Art. 9) - prohibits slavery, forced labor (Art.11) - the dignity of man (Art. 14 ) - equality for citizens (Art. 25)
    7. 7. Analysis – legislative framework cont’ • Pakistan has 80 children-related laws • National Registration Act 1973 for issuance of a national identity card to all citizens above the age of 18 years -- the voting age • Criminal responsibility is established at 7 • Minimum marriageable age for females is set at 16 and for males at 18 • Legal age for work is set at 14
    8. 8. Analysis – Policymakers’ views • A typically welfarist view, ‘A child is a parents’ responsibility…should be treated with love and care, and provided all necessities of life’ • Translated into policy, ‘Children belong to the private sphere of home and the state could not and should not interfere in the private sphere’ and ‘the Social Welfare has always considered children a very minor part of their work, because children are small (smiling) so, it has to be a small portion’
    9. 9. Analysis – Policymakers’ views cont’ • ‘We have a very young population…school age…But, we don’t have enough schools…then, there is the issue of the affordability of schooling…Parents too, think that if a child is not in school for whatever reasons, s/he should go to work. S/he will earn something, learn some skill and become independent in future.
    10. 10. Discussion • Children’s active participation and contribution is not acknowledged • Children are not considered worth having and expressing their views and able to participate in decisions effecting their lives • Children are not voters, so, policymakers do not seem to prioritise their issues and feel accountable to them
    11. 11. Implications for Development futures • Pakistan is struggling to achieve hundred per cent enrollment (MDG two) - School drop out rates are one of the highest in the region, - child labour is on the rise - child poverty rates are alarming - a national emergency to achieve hundred per cent enrollment by2015.
    12. 12. Thank You! Questions & comments tahira.dsw@pu.edu.pk