Approximately 60 participants including members of all four provincial assemblies (MPAs), provincial human rights officials, diplomats, members of civil society and business community gathered in Lahore on 13 and 14 November 2019 as a part of DRI’s second inter-provincial exchange trip, the first exchange was held in Karachi earlier this year.
Day one kicked off with a discussion on human rights as a priority for sustained socio-economic development, peace and stability in the region by led by I. A. Rehman, a senior human rights activist and former chairman of the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan, and the chairpersons of the Provincial Standing Committees on Human Rights of Balochistan, Sindh, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP)and Punjab.
Asad Jamal discussed human rights reforms across the provinces following reform package introduced with the 18th Amendment to the constitution in 2010, and examined next steps. with officials from the Provincial Human Rights Departments of Balochistan, KP, Sindh and Punjab. This was followed by a discussion on provincial assembly rules by Inayatullah Lack, Director General for Parliamentary Affairs and Research at the Punjab Provincial Assembly. Towards the end of the day, the participants were taken on a tour of the Punjab Assembly and had a discussion with Sardar Dost Muhammad Mazari, Deputy Speaker of the Provincial Assembly on the province’s successes on human and labour rights.
Day two of the conference started with a discussion on democratic and human rights reforms in Pakistan with a special focus on GSP+ trade incentives and obligations with business people, the APTMA and EU delegations and Irfan Mufti, Deputy Director of South Asia Partnership Pakistan.
Then a session was conducted on the way forward to strengthen human rights frameworks and mechanisms in Pakistan and how post-legislative reviews can be an instrument for these reforms. This session was chaired by Mahindar Pal Singh, Parliamentary Secretary for Human Rights and Minority Affairs in Punjab. Lastly, concluding remarks were given by Bernhard Schlagheck, German Ambassador to Pakistan and Ijaz Alam Augustine, Punjab Minister for Human Rights and Minority Affairs.
This event was part of the project Fostering the Protection of Human and Labour Rights through Trade Instruments funded by the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) and EU-funded project GSP+ Global (EIDHR) Promoting Human and Labour Rights through GSP+.