HRCP against selling land by depriving fishermen -Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF)

Paksitan Press Foundtion

HRCP against selling land by depriving fishermen

KARACHI: The director and secretary general of the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) I.A. Rehman has criticized new plans to develop Karachi’s islands.

Addressing the HRCP’s consultation meeting on worker’s rights Friday, Rehman said that Defense Housing Authority (DHA) recently reclaimed land and paid only Rs 52 per yard for it. The fishermen living there for the last several centuries were told to vacate the islands they used as temporary stations during fishing. “The government handed over the shores to foreign companies for development, but when the people are hungry and destitute, development is meaningless. Pakistan is not the name of a piece of land but these people, workers and peasants are Pakistan and any development on the cost of these people is not acceptable,” he added.

Rehman stressed the government of Pakistan immediately implement the recently ratified International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights. “It is an old practice in Pakistan that the government always finalizes policies without consulting the people and stakeholders and after the final draft people are just asked if that’s okay, for them there is no choice other then to accept it. Legislation must not be presumed final till the people themselves decide if it is good for them or not,” said Rehman.

He said that the HRCP endorses the charter of labor rights adopted by worker representatives on March 30 and urged the government to immediately convene a tripartite labor conference to resolve issues concerning the country’s work force.

“Priority should be given to withdrawal of all restraints on the right to form unions, extension of the social security network, consolidation of labor laws as recommended by the Shafi-ur-Rehman commission, implementation of ILO Convention 182 on Worst Forms of Child Labor and revision of ILO 2002 to bring this law in harmony with workers’ inalienable rights,” said Rehman at the conference.

Rehman further said that the implementation of the Bonded Labor System Abolition Act needed to be reviewed and it was necessary to provide for the settlement of liberated haris, who have the right to be allotted land to utilize their skills.

Sheikh Majeed, secretary general People’s Labor Bureau, Karachi Division, Fareed Awan, secretary general All Pakistan Trade Union, Muhammad Shafiq Ghuri, president national trade union federation, a representative of the Pakistan Fisher folk forum and other participants highlighted the problems of workers, peasants and fishermen and laborers demanding the government adopt worker friendly policies.

Source: Daily Times
Date:5/17/2008