Progressive human rights legislation: PPP urges civil society members to pressurise government
Senator Farhatullah Babar has urged the civil society organisations to launch a campaign to put pressure on the government to adopt progressive human rights legislation. He expressed these views while addressing at a seminar, Progressive Legislation: Prospects and Challenges, organised by SDPI, on Monday.
He said that progressive legislation in the country had been stumped by what was brandished as threat to ‘national security concern’ and by the ideology brigade citing reasons of threat to religion and ideology. “Thus citizens are disappearing with impunity, state agencies operate without the ambit of the law, and employees of National Command Authority (NCA) are denied of their basic rights while state is unmoved because of so-called national security concerns,” he said.
He said that progressive legislations like child marriage act, forced conversions, anti-rape and anti-honour killing laws, women protection act and harassment at work place laws came under attack on grounds of threat to ideology. He said that it was an issue of mindset and would take long time to correct but a beginning should be made to challenge the one-sided narrative of ideology brigade with logic and conviction.
He said that Pakistan had signed 7 out of 9 core human rights treaties. A state signatory to these treaties was required to adopt domestic legislation and other administrative measures to enhance the purposes of these treaties. He said that the UN Human Rights Committee has recently asked some questions arising out of report after signing the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR).
Farhatullah Babar said that civil society organisations should also mobilise public opinion on state agencies to provide honest answers to questions. State agencies should be brought under the ambit of the law and enforced disappearances be criminalised, he said. He also called for the adoption of the Anti-Torture Bill already passed unanimously by the Senate over a year ago and the RTI legislation, which was passed by the Senate Committee on human rights over 18 months ago.