District HR committees in doldrums

Ali Usman July 19, 2010

LAHORE: The human rights ministry’s plan for setting up human rights committees at the provincial and district levels hasn’t been implemented as the ministry hasn’t received any response from the Police Department as yet.

Federal Minister for Human Rights Mumtaz Alam Gilani is scheduled to arrive in Lahore on Wednesday and would take up this issue in his meetings with IG (Prisons) and other high officials of the police, officials in the ministry told The Express Tribune.

The Ministry of Human Rights had proposed human rights committees at the district level to monitor the human rights situation and bridge the gap between the ministry and the people.

The district level committees will comprise of the DPO concerned, a representative of the ministry and civil society activists.

All district level committees will report to a provincial committee which will consist of the ministry’s regional director, a deputy inspector general (DIG) and a civil society representative.

The regional directorate of the ministry has sent two written reminders to the Punjab Police IG. However, there has been no response, the officials declared.

The official said that according to an order of Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani and a notification by the federal government, police officials and other law enforcing agencies were bound to act on the recommendations of the Ministry of Human Rights.

In his four-day visit to Lahore the human rights minister will inquire as to what is holding the police officials from forwarding names for the formation of these committees. The minister will also visit some jails and is likely to give some policy guidelines on the issue of jail reforms, a source close to the ministry said.

Another senior official of the ministry told The Express Tribune that formation of provincial level committees would not be a problem but there was a problem in the formation of the district level committees. “We don’t have Ministry of Human Rights representatives at a district level so we cannot nominate our members.

There is a proposal that the ministry might appoint some local as its representative at district level,” he said.

When the Ministry of Human Rights was separated from Ministry of Law and Justice in November 2008, the minister had announced the development of task forces at district level and the installation of complaint boxes at every district court where people could lodge their complaints. There was a proposal also for establishing human rights courts at the district level.

Published in The Express Tribune, July 20th, 2010


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