CSOs voice concern over curtailment of NCHR’s powers
The Representatives of civil society organizations (CSO) have voiced concerns over the curtailment of powers of National Commission for Human Rights by making amendments into the relevant rules. They demanded of the federal government to ensure administrative and financial autonomy of the commission as well as restoration of its previous status.
Speaking at a news conference at Peshawar Press Club under banner of Civil Society Working Group on Tuesday, a female rights activist, Rakhshanda Naz said that the Federal Ministry of Human Rights had attempted to take administrative control over the NCHR by amending its rules of Business.
Flanked by members of civil society organisations, Qamar Naseem, Zar Ali Afridi, Radish Tony, Shahidullah, Nazra Syed, Shafaq Gigyani, and Taimoor Kamal, she said that the move was violation of National Commission for Human Rights Act 2012. Similarly, she said the Senate relevant committee was not allowed to monitor the affairs of the NCHR. Besides, she said that administrative and financial autonomy of the commission was not ensured after making amendments in the Act.
Furthermore, she said the funds are not being issued to the commission on regular basis which is affecting the better functioning of the NCHR. She informed that UN Committees had recommended the government to strengthen the independence of the right-based institutions in the country.
She went on to say that the parliament was an appropriate forum for monitoring the performance of the NCHR. Therefore, she demanded the independence and autonomy of the NCHR. She also stressed effective coordination between parliamentary committees and the NCHR on the important human rights issues.
Qamar Naseem sought the administrative and financial autonomy of the National Commission for Human Rights to ensure better functioning of it. He further demanded of the federal government to ensure independence of the NCHR as guaranteed under the National Commission for Human Rights Act of 2012. He also stressed the need for effective functioning of provincial members of the commission.
Mr Naseem said that the funds scarcity would hamper the smooth running of the commission. He suggested the funding should be ensured to the commission through federal consolidated funds. He said NCHR is an important institution setup under the Act of the parliament that gives the commission broader mandate to promote and protect human rights as provided in the constitution of the country. Whereas, he added the International Human rights covenants ratified by Pakistan. He added that the fulfillment of the HCHR mandate will support to increase protection of Human rights and contribute towards consolidation of democracy in the country.
Zar Ali Afridi lamented that the performance of National Commission for Human Rights is very poor as it has not taken any notice of the extreme human rights violations in FATA. He called for giving more independence and autonomy to NCHR to perform its obligations in an efficient manner in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa as well as tribal region.