On the 29th March of this year, the Legal Rights Forum (LRF) hosted a conference on issues concerning juvenile delinquency. A number of important NGOs and civil society organizations attended, including the NGO Resource Centre, the Aga Khan Foundation, the Federal Ministry on Human Rights, the Society for the Protection of the Rights of the Child (SPARC), the Karachi Bar Association, the Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan (SECP), and a number of government personnel.
The agenda covered an array of diverse yet pertinent topics. Prominent lawyers discussed the issue of establishing separate juvenile courts – as outlined in the Juvenile Justice System Ordinance 2000 – and the procedure that should be adopted in those courts. Dr. Khalid Iqbal spoke about juveniles who are suffering from infectious and/or contagious diseases and require prolonged medical treatment, in addition to juveniles who suffer from psychological problems. A discussion about the launch of a Rehabilitation Centre for Juveniles in Karachi was also on the agenda. The Centre would include a welfare center and would provide vocational and technical training, thereby facilitating juvenile delinquents’ personal development and easing the process of reintegration into society.
In his closing address, the Chairman of the LRF stressed the importance of the Right to Education, especially when concerning juveniles. He said that a Vocational and Technical Training Centre would give hope to juveniles in the increasingly competitive and globalized society in which we live. Participants then thanked the Chairman for his tireless efforts in advocating for juvenile rights. The evening ended with a dinner in celebration of Malik Tahir Iqbal for his success in the 2008 JusticeMakers Fellowship competition.