Intolerance and lack of education were identified, by rights activists on Friday, as two of the main factors leading to an increase in human rights violations.
International Commission for Human Rights, an NGO, held a press conference at the Lahore Press Club in connection with Human Rights Day observed on December 10 (today).
The commission’s chairman, Rana Ijaz Ahmed Khan, demanded that a course on human rights be included in the curriculum in order to promote awareness.
He said that growing intolerance was worrisome because it resulted in human rights violations. “We need to discourage violence and promote harmony,” Khan said.
He said that private torture cells operated by the police and the CIA should be shut down. Khan demanded that the government immediately ensure the closure of such cells.
“It is the state’s responsibility to safeguard rights of all citizens, irrespective of their faith,” he said. Khan said that the government’s failure to provide people with basic necessities also constituted a human rights violation.
He asked the government to do away with laws that contradict basic human rights and said that the government needed to provide security to journalists working in conflict areas.
He also urged the international community to pay attention to the human rights violations taking place in Indian-controlled Kashmir.
Mehnaz Ata Chaudhary, the commission’s Women Wing chairperson said that a lot of human rights violations occurred against women. “Violence against women can only be eliminated through education,” she said, adding that the ICHR had focused their efforts on the welfare of women in Balochistan in particular this year.
“A slight increase in awareness has been witnessed regarding women’s rights in urban areas but a lot of work needs to be done in rural areas,” she said.
Published in The Express Tribune, December 10th, 2011.