The Children’s Complaints Office (CCO) has been established at the Secretariat of the Provincial Ombudsman Sindh (POS) by way of a partnership between the POS and UNICEF.
It was observed that there was no dedicated forum for receiving and resolving Children-related complaints in Sindh; no public accountability of institutions charged with the responsibility for protecting Children’s Rights in Pakistan’s four Provinces.
Thus the CCO initiative bridges an existing gap in terms of a Children-specific grievance redress mechanism in the administrative justice sector in Sindh and also accords Sindh the privilege of establishing the first Children’s Regional Ombudsman office in Asia (and the second after Pakistan’s federal Ombudsman).
The institution of the Provincial Ombudsman Sindh (POS) was created in 1991 under the Establishment of the Office of Ombudsman for the Province of Sindh Act, 1991 (Sindh Act No. 1 of 1992). The main task of the POS is to diagnose, investigate, redress and rectify any injustice done to a person through maladministration by any officer or agency of the Government of Sindh. Like all Ombudsman institutions, the POS exists to promote accountability, transparency and integrity in governance.
The main objectives of the POS-UNICEF partnership for setting up the CCO are:
- To establish a dedicated redress and response system for complaints related to and by Children, against maladministration by any provincial agency, institution or public body;
- To provide a platform for addressing Child Rights issues through research, advocacy and engagement with Children and other stakeholders on Children’s Rights;
- To enable the Provincial Ombudsman Sindh to advise the Provincial Government on systemic issues which impact the Rights of Children and compliance with the CRC (Convention on the Rights of the Child).
Process and Procedure:
- To gel with the existing grievance redress process of the POS, the CCO will operate within the ambit of existing procedures.
- Complaints may be made both by Children and by adults on behalf of Children regarding unfair treatment by public bodies such as:
- Prisons and borstal institutions;
- Educational institutions, including vocational centers;
- Welfare homes;
- Orphanages and foster care;
- Other Government Departments and authorities (especially those which deal with Children’s Rights and issues);
- Non-government organizations (under supervision of Sindh Government regulatory bodies).
- The CCO-POS aims to create a Child protective environment by combating corruption and abuse in the treatment of Children by public bodies. Special attention will be given to vulnerable Children, such as:
- Children without primary caregivers: Children in institutions, street and homeless Children
- Children who are at risk of separation
- Working Children
- Children with disabilities
- Children in conflict with the law
- Child victims of trafficking