Agencies, army to be held accountable for HR violations
ISLAMABAD: Amidst the continuing ruckus by the opposition, the National Assembly on Friday passed a landmark bill for the formation of a National Commission for Human Rights (NCHR) empowered to investigate cases of human rights infringement, create much-needed awareness, and ultimately make agencies and the army answerable to the body in the context of alleged human rights violations.
Adviser to the Prime Minister on Human Rights Mustafa Nawaz Khokhar moved the bill as passed by the Senate with some amendments before it was later passed by the House with a majority vote.
According to sources, the NCHR is due to be formed once the president signs the bill into law.The Human Rights Commission is being formed in recognition of the constitutional provisions on human rights contained in Articles 8 to 28 and Chapter-2 of the Constitution and the human rights agenda of the current government.
According to the United Nations, the formation of the commission is the singular criteria to judge a state’s commitment towards the protection and promotion of human rights.ìPresently, the National Human Rights Commissions are functional in more than 54 countries of the world,” according to the bill’s statement of objectives.
The commission will be chaired by a judge of the Supreme Court and will comprise one member from each of the four provinces, the Islamabad Capital Territory, Fata and Gilgit-Baltistan, as well as one from minority communities.
According to the bill, the commission will be empowered to inquire into, take suo motu or on a petition, intervene in any proceeding involving allegations of human rights violation and visit any jail.
The commission will also be responsible for reviewing laws and recommending appropriate remedial measures and new legislation.The House also admitted an annual report of the Council of Common Interests (CCI) that was tabled by Minister for Inter-Provincial Coordination Mir Hazar Khan Bijarani.