HRCP condemns harassments of human rights defenders

Press Release, June 20, 2008


Karachi: In a statement issued to the press, Iqbal Haider, Co-Chairperson of the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan strongly condemns the harassment and victimization of human rights defenders, for raising voice against bonded labour. 


Mr. Haider said that it was shocking that the main accused reportedly involved in the crime of bonded labour and kidnapping, arrested under the court order has been released after the dismissal of the independent judiciary of the superior court.  Now not only that he has been released but he has the audacity to harass, and victimized human rights activist like Mr. Akhter Baloch by reportedly filing a criminal case of defamation in a district and session court of Sanghar. It is also learnt that the court has issued warrant of arrest of Mr. Akhter Baloch in a baseless and mala fide case. Akhter Baloch is a member of HRCP and has been actively pursuing the cases of bonded labourers, in particular for recovery of the bonded family of Munno Bheel.


Mr. Haider has called upon the authorities, to give due protection to the bona fide member and activist of HRCP, and to prevent misuse of the due process of the law and ensure that no human rights activist is harassed and victimized by the violators of the human rights and the law.


Iqbal Haider, Co-Chairperson


HRCP consultation calls for a crash plan to secure workers rights

Press Release, May 16

Karachi: Legislation necessary for the implementation of the recently, ratified International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, immediate convening of tripartite labor conference to remove the impediments to the enforcement of the workers’ rights, adoption of a plan for land reform, so as to protect the rights of the tenants and cultivators, and speedy acceptance of the charter of labor rights adopted by workers representatives on March 30, are the main recommendations of a broad based consultation with representatives of workers and fisher folk organizations, sponsored by Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) in Karachi today.

The meeting attended by nearly one hundred representatives of trade unions, fisher folk forum and human rights activists, welcomed the government decision to ratify the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights and demanded speedy adoption of legislation so that the people of Pakistan could realize the rights recognized in the covenant. The participants specially emphasized the need to recognize the right to work, which includes the right to work of one’s choice, the rights of workers to their economic development, the right to safe and healthy working conditions, the right to form trade unions, women’s right to equal wages for equal work, and the right to social security.

The meeting endorsed the labor charter adopted by labor organizations in March this year and suggested that priority should be given to withdrawal of all restraints on the right to form unions, extension of 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. In the opinion of the participants the implementation of the Bonded Labor System Abolition Act needed to be reviewed. It was necessary to provide for the settlement of liberated haris. They had a right to be allotted land so that they could utilize their skills.

The meeting strongly urged the government to immediately convene a tripartite labor conference to resolve issues concerning the country’s work force.

The meeting regretted that little was being said about the plight of agricultural workers, tenants and landless peasants. The meeting called for a new land utilization policy, fixation of a fair ceiling on land holdings and distribution of land among men and women who till the land. The government was also asked to ensure implementation of the ILO convention on the agricultural workers right to form union.

The government was also urged to pay serious attention to the continued exploitation of Pakistan’s fisher folk. The policy of handing over sea-shore to so called developers was severely criticized along with the policy of favoring foreign fishing organizations at the cost of the country’s fishing community.

Secretary General HRCP

Pakistan Elections today

PAKISTAN 2008 ELECTIONS today – February 18, 2008

HRCP will not be monitoring the polls, neither by itself nor in partnership with anyone.

All HRCP offices and fieldworkers will be observing certain aspects of the elections, i.e. they will be watching and assessing the electoral process – pre-poll, during polling and post-poll – as it is part of Pakistan Coalition for Free, Fair and Democratic Elections (Pacfrel).

HRCP will be observing and documenting:

  1. the Election Commission’s (EC) performance
  2. complaints of candidates to the EC
  3. voting arrangements for prisoners
  4. if government servants have been persuaded/pressurized into voting en bloc
  5. status of applications for postal ballots and related information and issues
  6. reports of returns from Pakistan missions abroad
  7. if women have been allowed to vote freely and where and how it has not been so
  8. if forced labour has been allowed to vote
  9. candidate’s manifestos
  10. future plans of workers of parties that boycotted the polls

HRCP recovers 30 bonded labourers from landlord’s clutches

bonded labour

On November 22, 2007, the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan was approached by Mr. Chanser S/o Mr. Balia, and Mr. Khushal S/o Mr. Rama, resident of Janai Goth, District Malir, under the jurisdiction of Gadap Police Station, Karachi, with a complaint that his 30 relatives have been kept as Bonded Laborer for the last one year by a local landlord Lalo Baloch. According to the complainants, Ms. Ambo W/o Mr. Khushal was also gang raped by Lalo Baloch and his colleagues, Mohan Bheel and Nabi Jokhio

bonded labour 2The bonded labour included six women, all of them severely malnourished and in tattered clothes. Continue reading