Members of Pakistan’s civil society have called upon the National Commission for Human Rights to focus its strategy on five objectives: promotion of human rights education, the need for effective investigations and complaint handling, better legal protection for human rights in Pakistan, enhancing Pakistan’s compliance with international treaties, and addressing the rights of marginalised groups such as women, minorities, transgenders, labourers and children.
Democracy Reporting International concluded a series of five consultative workshops in Islamabad on 21 September 2016, in support of the independent National Commission for Human Rights’ (NCHR) strategic planning as it establishes a mandate for the protection and promotion of human rights in Pakistan.
DRI’s Country Representative Hassan Nasir Mirbahar said that through the consultative process, NCHR has set an important precedent for other state institutions to similarly seek the input of stakeholders when developing policies and legislation.
Facilitated in each of Pakistan’s four provinces, including one at the federal level, the consultations included stakeholders from civil society, the business sector and labour unions, who provided NCHR with key input on civil, political, social, economic and cultural rights in Pakistan.
“NCHR gives great value to civil society’s input and opinions,” said NCHR member Anis Haroon. “We will seek civil society’s feedback in the future as well.”
The National Commission for Human Rights (NCHR) is an important institution in Pakistan’s human rights landscape which DRI has supported since its inception. Established in May 2015, NCHR is an independent state body tasked with protecting and promoting human rights, focussing on the State’s compliance with international human rights treaties and human rights enshrined in Pakistan’s Constitution.
In an effort to strengthen NCHR’s tasks, “the strategic plan will be an effective tool and foundation for NCHR to deliver its mandate and help improve human rights protection in Pakistan”, as Ali Nawaz Chowhan, Chair of NCHR, puts it.
NCHR member Shafique Choudhry added that the involvement of stakeholders in this process is very important in promoting their sense of inclusion in NCHR’s strategic plan.
DRI will continue to support the National Commission for Human Rights through its project “Supporting Pakistan’s compliance with the GSP+ Scheme” which is funded by the German Ministry for Foreign Affairs.