Centre and Punjab to work together for human rights -Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF)

Paksitan Press Foundtion

Centre and Punjab to work together for human rights

By Ali Usman

LAHORE: The Lahore Directorate of Human Rights and the provincial Human Rights Department are planning to jointly work against human rights violations, Daily Times has learnt.

The Lahore directorate is the provincial headquarters of the Federal Ministry of Human Rights. Initially, officials from both the government departments will visit different police stations to monitor the human rights situation and check any illegal detention by the police. The officials will also monitor prevalent conditions in different jails in the province. Recently, officials from the Directorate of Human Rights visited a jail and showed dissatisfaction at the appalling conditions there. The officials plan to work collectively to address human rights violations, especially in government departments.

The present government has recently created the Ministry of Human Rights. Earlier, the ministry was a part of the Ministry of Law, Justice and Human Rights. Since the ministry had an advisory role to the government on constitutional matters, human rights violations went mostly neglected.

Funds: For the first time, the government has allocated funds in the federal budget to the Ministry of Human Rights and its four provincial headquarters. Talking to Daily Times, Directorate of Human Rights Director Arshad Mahmood Malik said funds had been allocated to the directorate for organising different activities and conferences. He said the directorate planned to collaborate with the private sector, as per the instructions, to improve the human rights situation and provide relief to the aggrieved.

Plans: Malik said the directorate had a plan to discuss the human rights situation with the provincial authorities. “I have a plan to meet the Labour secretary to discuss with him the issue of kiln labourers. The government has fixed the minimum wages for labourers yet they are being under-paid and are suffering at the hands of kiln owners. I will also discuss issuing identity cards to such laborers with the secretary,” he said. The directorate, in collaboration with the provincial Human Rights Department, planned to build hospitals where the complaints of the people would be heard, he added.

He said there was a plan to place complaint boxes in different hospitals where people could drop their applications reporting rights violations. “The ministry is committed to provide relief to as many people as it can,” he said.

Federal Human Rights Minister Mumtaz Alam Gillani had announced signing a memorandum of understanding with the Asian Development Bank and the United Nations Development Programme for establishing Human Rights Courts on the district-level.

Source: Daily Times

Date:6/27/2009