Pakistan is set to present a national report highlighting steps the government has taken to improve the country’s human rights record when the United Nations Human Rights Council will meet next week in Geneva.
Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar will lead the Pakistan delegation at the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) of international conventions and laws on human rights, said a foreign ministry statement issued here on Monday.
The Universal Periodic Review is a four-year cyclical mechanism of the Human Rights Council, which is based on equal treatment for all countries.
The mechanism involves discussions and review of the steps taken and efforts made by all 192 member states of the United Nations, in order to promote and protect human rights in their respective countries, said the statement.
Under this mechanism, all UN member states are given the opportunity to present their national reports once every four years (48 member states each year).
This year, Pakistan is one of the countries which will present the national report detailing steps taken to improve human rights record.
A senior foreign ministry official told The Express Tribune that the report will highlight measures and Pakistan’s commitment to human rights.
“We have ratified all 27 international conventions related to human rights,” the official said requesting anonymity.
He said the report would improve the country’s image and help achieve greater access to European markets. Pakistan is currently negotiating a new deal with the 27-nation bloc to have greater access to EU markets.
But the final agreement depends on Pakistan’s efforts to address certain human rights issues in the country.
The official said, contrary to common perception, the current government had taken a number of steps that would go a long way in improving the human rights situation in the country.
He said the government already ratified an important international convention on civil and political rights.
Published in The Express Tribune, October 23rd, 2012.