Home »General News » Pakistan » Senate passes ‘Unattended Orphans (Rehabilitation and Welfare) Act, 2016

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  • May 21st, 2016
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The Senate on Friday unanimously passed 'Unattended Orphans (Rehabilitation and Welfare (Act), 2016', aimed at protecting the rights and rehabilitee the unattended children, besides providing other facilities to them by the federal government. The Bill moved by Senator Karim Ahmed Khawaja of Pakistan People's Party (PPP) was unanimously adopted by the House and will now go to the National Assembly for final approval. It will have the jurisdiction of Islamabad Capital Territory (ICT).

The Bill says that unattended orphan means a child below the age of fifteen years with unknown parentage, abandoned or not in the legal custody of any one. "Unattended orphans and unknown parentage children in Pakistan are facing many problems. The legislation to protect the rights and provision of the facilities to such children and to launch any welfare scheme for them has not been launched so far," says the statement of objects and reasons of the Bill.

Under the proposed law, the government will establish welfare fund for such children with an initial grant of fifty million rupees and the money received by way of donations, contributions and assistance from individuals, body corporate, financial institution and other organizations shall be credited to this fund.

The law proposes that every unattended orphan shall be registered in accordance with the provisions of the National Database and Registration Authority (NADRA) Ordinance, 2000 and for this purpose every child abode and orphanage working in private sector shall get registered with it.

The governing authority of a child abode or orphanage shall designate a guardian for the purposes of registration of such children. The name, Computerized National Identity Card (CNIC) and designation with specimen signature of guardian will be sent to the NADRA and the same will be considered as head of issuance of CNIC and Child Registration Certificate (CRC) to unattended orphans.

The government shall establish 'Child Abodes', an institution or home, for such children that will provide free boarding and lodging and other facilities to the unattended orphans. The government will be responsible to provide them facilities including provision of free of cost education, clothes and free of cost healthcare facilities. The federal government shall take custody of every unattended child identified by the government and send him/her to the Child Abode.

In case of unknown parentage of the child, any unknown specified name of parents shall be randomly selected through software application by NADRA. The law proposes punishment if anyone forces such children to beg, commit petty crime, rag picking and sexual exploitation.

The Senate also adopted a unanimous resolution urging the government to designate the 15th of Ramadan every year as a 'Day of Orphans and Abandoned Children' in the light of resolution passed by the Organization of Islamic Conference (OIC). The house urged upon the government to recognize 15th of Ramadan as 'Day of Orphans and Abandoned Children' annually to raise awareness about these children to inspire the instructions to develop social policies and projects for them and mobilize funding for their welfare. The House, through the unanimous resolution, recognized the orphan and abandoned children saying that 'they are the most vulnerable of all humans throughout the world'. It recognized that the rights of such children are often ignored.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2016

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