‘United Nation rights mechanism can help improve situation in Pakistan’
LAHORE: Speakers at a conference on Wednesday called upon the government to engage seriously with international bodies like the United Nations and make use of opportunities to overcome obstacles in the way of improving human rights situation in Pakistan.
The conference, ‘Can United Nations human rights mechanism help improve situation in Pakistan? Participation, Opportunities and Threats’ was organised under the auspices of National Commission for Justice and Peace (NCJP), at SAFMA, which was attended by people from different walks of life.
The speakers regretted that successive governments ignored protecting human rights in the country and failed to fulfil their responsibilities and commitments in this regard. They argued that a wholehearted commitment to the international human rights’ framework could ameliorate situation in Pakistan. HRCP Secretary General IA Rehman said that the government did not benefit from the UN mechanism and its special procedures.
“We want to hide the facts about pathetic situation regarding the rights of children, women, labourers and minorities,” he said.
He called upon the government to make people aware of Pakistan’s international commitments and of the position they maintain vis-à-vis citizen’s rights at international forums. NCJP Executive Director Peter Jacob said that Pakistan’s representation at international forums of UN relied on rhetoric, which earned the country an image of non-serious member. He suggested setting up a forum of the friends of UN. SAP representative Irfan Mufti said that it was necessary to engage with the UN Human Rights Council and participate in its proceedings.
Since the UNHRC came into being, Pakistan had ratified its four treaties, which resulted in legislations like introduction of women friendly laws in the country, he said. SPARC representative Sajjad Cheema said development regarding legislation on human rights was pathetic in the country.
“We ratify treaties only to improve our image at the international level, but we don’t follow these treaties and make amendments in existing laws,” he argued.
The speakers and participants condemned attack on young peace activist Malala Yousufzai, saying that the incident was an eye opener for all the countrymen.