Parliamentarians discuss impact of COVID-19 on women, children

ISLAMABAD:Child Rights Special Committee of the National Parliamentary Task Force on SDGs and Parliamentarians Commission on Human Rights (PCHR) Thursday hosted a virtual round table meeting on “Impact of COVID-19 on Women and Children: Parliamentary Interventions” to discuss ongoing pandemic ‘s impact on vulnerable sections of the society.

Chaired by MNA Shandana Gulzar, Convener Sub-Committee SDGs-5 (Geneder Equality) and Chairperson Commonwealth Women Parliamentarians (CWP) and MNA Mehnaz Akber Aziz Convener Special Committee on Child Rights, the meeting discussed prospects of violence and health issues of women and children, said a statement issued here.

It was agreed upon in the virtual meet up that this pandemic has disrupted social life, finance and trade, education and learning, healthcare and much more but the most vulnerable in this regard were women and children.

The participants agreed that the rights of the most vulnerable have to be safeguarded in such a situation by keeping in touch with relevant departments and ensuring vulnerable come back to school when the situation improves.

The participants were also unanimous that there were reduced social supports during the crises situation like the COVID -19. It was not only the children who were at risk during the COVID-19 outbreak but women and girls were also vulnerable in this situation.

They agreed that there was increasing risk of gender-based violence as quarantine and social distancing may force many to remain in hostile environments at home. With girls out of school they would be at greater risk of early marriages.

That child and women protection should be central in all post – COVID -19 planning. The civil society organizations offered all kind of support to the government on issues related to children and women.

The other participants included MNA Dr. Shazia Sobia Aslam Soomro, MNA Syma Nadeem, MNA Khaeil Das Kohistani and MNA Romina Khursheed Alam, Shafique Chaudhry Executive Director PCHR besides representatives of Civil Society organizations working on Children and women issues.

Other speakers included Khawer Mumtaz Former Chair NCSW, Munizae bano from SAHIL, Valerie Khan from GDP, Ali Imran from EU Project, Raza Ali from PJN, Basarat Kazmi from Alif LailaBook bank and Wiqar un nisa Hashmi from Federal Ombudsman Secretariat.