Human rights being seriously violated: JAC
LAHORE: A meeting of the Joint Action Committee (JAC) for People’s Rights took place at the Lahore Press Club on Monday in which the participants took serious notice of the curbs on the press freedom and the non-government organisations (NGOs), harassment of human rights defenders and incidents of enforced disappearances of social and political workers – or anyone who differed with the state narrative.
Among the participants were veteran journalist and human rights defender Hussain Naqi, South Asia Partnership Pakistan Executive Director Mohammad Tahseen, South Asian Free Media Association (SAFMA) Director Imtiaz Alam and lawyer Rabbiya Bajwa. The NGO heads, trade unionists, representatives of media associations, bar councils and students groups also attended the meeting.
The participants agreed that some elements had been using violence to intimidate the citizens. They said despite the fact that the number of killings had gone down since 2009 that did not mean extremism had been eliminated from society.
They pointed out that the new procedures and policies violated the UN Human Rights Council Resolution adopted on March 21, 2013 which specifically barred restrictions on civil society orgnisations for accessing foreign funds.
“Several human rights defenders have been murdered for speaking out against injustices, human rights violations and using their right to free speech. The state must provide security to the activists involved in nation building programmes,” said Mr Naqi.
Labour leader Farooq Tariq said, “There is a right-wing international wave (in Pakistan) as can be seen in India, Sri Lanka, Brazil, America, the UK”.
“When the students raised communist/socialist slogans in union with labourers, the result of that sloganeering is now apparent to everyone. We need ongoing movements to push for the rights of students, labourers, minorities and women,” he added.
The other participants said a large number of the NGOs actually aided the state in various ways and millions of volunteers had contributed towards poverty alleviation, enhancing literacy, health services and other social sector assistance.