Protecting human rights: Stakeholders call for building institutional mechanisms

The plea was made at an event organised by SPO in collaboration with the Federal Ministry of Human Rights

Our Correspondent March 18, 2017
The plea was made at an event organised by SPO in collaboration with the Federal Ministry of Human Rights. PHOTO: EXPRESS/FILE

ISLAMABAD: Diplomats, government representatives, and rights campaigners have called for concerted efforts to raise awareness and to build institutional mechanisms at the federal, provincial and grassroots levels to protect and promote human rights.

The plea was made at an event organised by the Strengthening Participatory Organisation (SPO) in collaboration with the Federal Ministry of Human Rights and respective provincial departments. It was supported by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) of the British government.

The event, held on Thursday, celebrated the completion of provincial human rights policy strategies.

Former Federal Information Minister and SPO Board Chairperson Javed Jabbar said that human rights are ingrained in all religions and cultures. He added that we are living in a period where human rights of individuals and vulnerable groups are usurped by states, religious and powerful groups, media, and families.

Jabbar said that in today’s world humanity was facing a new scourge of extremism, terrorism, and intolerance which is also a violation of human rights and called on governments, civil society, and rights campaigners to synergise their efforts.

British High Commission’s Political Consular William Middleton recalled Quaid-i-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah’s words that Islam had taught us democracy, equality of man, justice, and fair play for everyone.

Although the provincial strategies provide a clear vision for the issues requiring attention, the overall vision - whether strengthening the rights of religious minorities in K-P, eradicating the scourge of bonded labour in the brick kilns of Punjab, or setting up a fund to provide free legal aid to the poor and vulnerable in Sindh and Balochistan - can only be achieved if each area is pursued with determination, Middleton said.

Ministry of Human Rights Director General Muhammad Arshad said that Pakistan was translating its commitments to the international community into policy and legislation despite challenges such as lack of education and awareness, social and cultural discriminatory patterns, intolerance, human trafficking, violence against children and women, and bonded labour.

Published in The Express Tribune, March 18th, 2017.


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