A significant milestone in child protection was achieved today with the inauguration of the Child Protection Unit (CPU) in Rajanpur. This initiative, a collaborative endeavor led by UNICEF, the International Rescue Committee (IRC), the Child Protection Welfare Bureau (CPWB), and the Government of Punjab, marks a crucial step towards ensuring the safety and well-being of children in Punjab.
Under the auspices of the International Rescue Committee’s project, “Strengthening Response Services to Child Protection Cases by Setting Up Case Management and Case Referral System,” the Child Protection Unit has been established to provide an effective and coordinated response to cases of child rights violations, abuse, neglect, and exploitation. This district-based setup, modeled after Child Protection Units (CPUs), operates within the framework of the Child Protection Welfare Bureau and the Department of Social Welfare, with subsidiary sub-desks in key departments including Education, Health, Police, Judiciary, and Rescue1122. The initiative fosters a seamless coordination mechanism through an Inter-Agency Coordination protocol, connecting various departments to ensure a comprehensive response to child rights violations.
Zahida Manzoor, UNICEF, in her welcome speech, expressed the significance of the collaborative effort in strengthening the child protection system. The keynote speech by the DG of Child Protection Welfare Bureau, Mr Aftab Ahmad, shed light on the collective commitment to safeguarding children’s rights. The event concluded with closing remarks from Shabnam Baloch, Country Director of the International Rescue Committee, reaffirming the organisation’s dedication to this noble cause.
This initiative is bolstered by a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed between IRC, CPWB, and the Social Welfare Department at the provincial level, ensuring a trickle-down effect of cooperation and collaboration at the district level. The coordinated efforts between these key stakeholders will play a pivotal role in upholding the rights and protection of children in the region.
As this CPU commences its operations, it heralds a new era of safeguarding children’s rights and creating an environment where they can thrive without fear. The collaboration between UNICEF, IRC, CPWB, and the Government of Punjab sets a remarkable precedent for effective child protection measures that will undoubtedly serve as a beacon of hope for children and families across the region.