Call for legal reforms to safeguard human rights in Pakistan
QUETTA: Parliamen-tarians, lawyers, trade union leaders, civil society activists and members of business community urged the federal and provincial governments to improve the human rights situation in the country because doing so was their constitutional obligation.
Legal and institutional reforms were necessary for ensuring protection and promotion of human rights, said speakers at a forum organised here by the Democracy Reporting International (DRI).
They were of the opinion that human rights must not only be safeguarded for the sake of the Generalised Scheme of Preferences (GSP+) status; rather they should be honoured and implemented because they were guaranteed by the Constitution of Pakistan.
The aim of organising the discussion was to provide support to stakeholders in fostering human rights reforms and enhancing Pakistan’s compliance with the conditions instituted under the GSP+ status.
The team leader of DRI Pakistan, Hassan Nasir Mirbahar, said that in its review of Pakistan’s compliance with conditions under the GSP+, the EU recommended enhancing human rights protection in the country. He added that it was important for Pakistani stakeholders to come together and discuss priorities for human rights reforms.
Lala Sultan Mohammad, president of the All Pakistan Labour Federation, said that despite the GSP+ conditions, labour rights were being compromised.
The percentage of organised workers in Pakistan stood at only about 2 per cent. Therefore, they were unable to effectively work for the protection of their rights, he said.
Speaking on behalf of the civil society organisations, Advocate Tahir Hussain of the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan, Jalala Haider, a human rights activist, and Sohail Ansari, a lawyer, shared their concerns about the continued violation of rights, challenges faced by human rights defenders and weakened law enforcement mechanisms.