Implementation matters: Activists emphasise need for human rights compliance

Say there is pressing need to align UN’s goals with Pakistan’s plan of action

Our Correspondent April 27, 2016
Minister for Labour and Mineral Development Anisa Zeb Tahirkheli speaking at a forum regarding GSP Plus and Human Rights. PHOTO: INP

PESHAWAR: Parliamentarians and social activists voiced their concerns over the safety of rights activists amid security challenges, stated a press release issued on Wednesday.

Speaking at a conference held at Pearl Continental Hotel in the city, they said the volatile security situation in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa has become an impediment to safeguarding human rights.

The initiative was organised by Democracy Reporting International (DRI) and aimed to discuss recommendations on improving human rights compliance.

Participants said there was a pressing need to align the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals with Pakistan’s plan of action on human rights.

During the conference, Minister for Labour and Mineral Development Anisa Zeb Tahirkheli said the provincial government is committed to ensure compliance with human rights.

“We must highlight the government’s progress in this regard and shed light on setbacks in implementation,” the statement cited Tahirkheli as saying.

According to the minister, efforts need to be taken to safeguard human rights at all levels. She urged civil society organisations to make use of K-P Right to Information Act, 2013 and K-P Right to Public Services Act, 2014 to ensure accountability and transparency.

Legal Aid Services Executive Director Rukhshanda Naz drew attention to plans to improve compliance with human rights. She added the government had allocated resources for this purpose, saying it was a “welcome step”.

Provincial Commission on Status of Women Chairperson Neelum Toru said resource constraints and the limited autonomy provided to her organisation have created hurdles for protecting women’s rights in the province. However, she said the provincial government was prepared to make amendments to empower the commission.

In his concluding remarks, DRI Team Leader Hassan Nasir Mirbahar highlighted the role of Generalised Scheme of Preferences (GSP) Plus scheme in safeguarding human rights.

“The programme aims to support Pakistan attain sustainable development and democratic reforms in line with international human rights law,” the press release quoted him as saying.

Published in The Express Tribune, April 28th, 2016.

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