HRCP elects new council, demands state to improve HR record
November 9, 2020 04:26 PM
On concluding it's 34th Annual General Meeting (AGM), the general body of the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) has called on the state to improve its human rights record—in particular to protect freedom of expression and to ensure that charges of sedition and terrorism and the practice of enforced disappearances are not used to stamp out dissent.
HRCP demanded that the state fulfils its moral obligation to treat both access to affordable healthcare and social security as fundamental rights.
The Commission also urged the government to appoint a new chairperson to the National Commission for Human Rights and ensure it becomes fully functional and financially independent.
Among other issues raised in the resolution passed at the AGM, HRCP expressed strong concern at the rise in wanton violence against children, women and transgender persons. The Commission, which is following the Arzoo Raja case closely, demanded that forced conversions be stopped immediately.
The Commission condemned the deaths of two farmers following a protest in Lahore and demanded that the state take practical steps to improve working conditions in mines in Balochistan and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.
HRCP strongly criticized the federal government’s decision to acquire the islands off the coasts of Sindh and Balochistan, adding that it would leave thousands of fisherfolk jobless.
It also expressed grave concern at the slow pace of reforms in the newly merged districts of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and reports that growing militancy has curtailed women’s mobility and access to education.
HRCP has also emphasized that the people of Gilgit-Baltistan deserve to enjoy the same rights and freedoms as accorded to other citizens under the Constitution and called on the government to release all prisoners of conscience, including Baba Jan and others.
HRCP New Council
HRCP has elected a 31-member council for a three-year term (2020–23).
Hina Jilani, internationally acclaimed human rights lawyer and former UN Special Representative on Human Rights Defenders, was elected chairperson.
Seasoned human rights activist Asad Iqbal Butt was elected co-chairperson, and veteran journalist and trade unionist Husain Naqi elected treasurer.
The council also elected four vice-chairs for Balochistan, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Sindh and Punjab.