Lahore, July 5, 2010: The Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) has called upon the government to take all steps, including the introduction of new legislation, in order to secure implementation of all human rights instruments it has ratified, especially the most recently ratified Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the Convention against Torture.
The demand was made during a seminar organized by HRCP on ‘Key International Human Rights Instruments and Pakistan’s Responsibilities’ at Karachi the other day.
The participants welcomed the ratification by Pakistan of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) and the UN Convention against Torture (CAT) and expressed satisfaction that Pakistan had now become party to all key human rights instruments. However, they said that that was only a good first step and the people now looked forward to a marked improvement in the level of respect for and protection of their human rights.
The meeting called upon the government to withdraw all reservations made to the various human rights instruments and to also ratify the optional protocols to the ICCPR, CAT, Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW), and Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC).
The participants asked the government to set up a special task force to draw up proposals for bringing domestic law in harmony with Pakistan’s obligations under international human rights treaties.
The participants recommended that all reports to the UN bodies must be drafted in consultation with civil society organizations and comments by the UN committees on reports submitted by Pakistan must be made public. They called for effective steps to enhance the capacity for writing reports required to be submitted to the various UN committees. The participants also demanded that the government submit a report to parliament each year on actions taken to ensure enforcement of human rights standards.
The seminar included presentations on International Covenant on Economic Social and Cultural Rights (Dr Syed Jaffar Ahmad), CEDAW (Ms. Mehnaz Rahman), CRC (Ms. Fizza Ali), ICCPR (Mr. I.A. Rehman) and CAT (Syed Shamsuddin).
This was the second workshop HRCP had organized on the subject. The first was held in Lahore a few days earlier.
Dr Mehdi Hasan