Policy dialogue: ‘To rebuild lives in flood-hit areas, shift focus on human rights’

Published: July 21, 2012
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Former prime
minister Yousaf Raza
Gilani had announced
a zero hunger policy
in March 2012, but
nothing came of that. PHOTO: FILE/AFP

Former prime minister Yousaf Raza Gilani had announced a zero hunger policy in March 2012, but nothing came of that. PHOTO: FILE/AFP

ISLAMABAD: 

There is a need to shift focus on human rights to help rebuild lives in the areas devastated by floods in 2010 and 2011.

This was the consensus among speakers at an event titled “Policy Dialogue on Rebuilding Lives-Post Floods 2010 & 2011”, organized by ActionAid Pakistan here on Thursday.

ActionAid Policy Advocacy and Research Unit Manager Uzma Tahir said, “The government should redistribute land to women, especially landless rural women, to fulfill their constitutional right to have access, control and ownership of land.”

Her argument was reinforced by two women who had come to talk about their plights.

“I work as a farmer and I bear all the crop expenses but when the crop gets ready, I receive one fourth of the produce,” said one woman who had come from Kashmor.

Lal Mai, another landless flood victim from Kot Addu, said, “The floods washed away our belongings and livestock. We demand that the government give us land so that we can better reap the fruits of our hard work in the field.”

World Food Programme Adviser General (Retd) Nadeem Ahmad said that former prime minister Yousaf Raza Gilani had announced a zero hunger policy in March 2012, but nothing happened after that. He said that bureaucratic red tape is one of the biggest hurdles in moving things forward during the floods.

He said that there is an acute malnutrition among Pakistani children, which needs to be addressed immediately.

Institute of Social and Polices Studies Representative Rabia Shabir that Civil Defense Organization should be given more funds to meet disaster. She added that funds are being improperly utilized due lack of accountability.

National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) Chairperson Dr Zafar Iqbal Qadir said the authority has shifted its focus from response to emergency preparedness. Similarly it has also transformed itself from a military institution into a civilian disaster management authority, he added.

Published in The Express Tribune, July 21st, 2012.

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