Islamabad, December 09, 2019 (PPI-OT): Human Rights Day is celebrated all over the world to commemorate the anniversary of the proclamation of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the first global acknowledgement of the universal and inalienable nature of human rights. Pakistan was one of the earliest signatories to the Declaration in 1948. Since then, Pakistan has affirmed this commitment through the adoption and ratification of several other key international human rights conventions/ treaties. The Ministry of Human Rights has made significant progress towards strengthening human rights legislation in Pakistan.
Over the past year, our Ministry has drafted and introduced legislation on critical subjects including child sexual abuse, domestic violence, minority rights, rights of persons with disabilities, and rights of senior citizens. These laws focus on protecting and empowering vulnerable segments of the population and have the potential to significantly improve human rights in Pakistan. The Ministry of Human Rights is also committed to strengthening the implementation of existing laws and creating new avenues to enable citizens to demand and exercise their rights.
We have addressed a total of 8227 complaints received on Pakistan Citizen Portal. Moreover, the establishment of a toll free helpline 1099 has enabled us to help victims of human rights violations to access legal recourse and remedies. The helpline has received 380,000 calls to date, of which approximately 36,000 calls were eligible for free legal advice and referral for redress. 222 pro bono lawyers have been registered with helpline.
Our child and women protection shelters are also providing crucial assistance to vulnerable persons in the form of rehabilitation, shelter, education and legal aid. In addition, our Ministry has initiated a training and sensitization program for the police and judiciary so that cases of human rights violations are dealt with due sensitivity and care. The Ministry has also been spearheading advocacy efforts against human rights violations in Indian Occupied Kashmir.
We have raised the issue at several international forums and have approached 18 UN Human Rights Special Mandate Holders to take urgent action against the gross human rights atrocities being committed by Indian Occupation forces in IOJK. This includes an urgent request to United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affair (UNOCHA) to establish a humanitarian corridor for the flow of relief and aid services into IOJK.
On this occasion, I would like to reiterate our government’s commitment to fulfilling the human rights obligations enshrined in the constitution and promulgated under the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Let Human Rights Day serve as a reminder for all of us to respect the inherent dignity of every human being. Institutions and individuals must work together to create a culture of mutual respect and tolerance so that every citizen of Pakistan can exercise their equal and fundamental human rights as enshrined in our Constitution.
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