KARACHI: National Commission for Human Rights (NCHR), in collaboration with European Union-funded Huqooq-e-Pakistan Project (HeP), launched its country-wide consultative process for the commission’s four-year strategic plan.
In this regard, two consultative sessions were held with civil society representatives and media, where participants shared a broad range of opinions to devise a pragmatic strategic plan for the NCHR.
The commission plans to hold similar consultative sessions in other provincial capitals in order to gather information and recommendations from all parts of the country.
Presided over by NCHR Chairperson Rabiya Javeri Agha and led by senior expert from HeP Dr Osama Siddique, the consultations engaged participants on their views about the state of human rights in Pakistan and their level of awareness of NCHR’s role and mandate.
The participants also held extensive discussions on NCHR functions and ways of effective collaboration between the commission and human rights stakeholders, especially general public.
In her welcome remarks, Rabiya Javeri Agha said that opinions and recommendations coming out from these consultations would be taken into account while preparing the NCHR’s strategic plan and determining next steps for the commission.
The chairperson said that the commission is a broad mandated entity. “One of the main functions of the commission is to inform the government of the problems faced by the people and civil society in the form of reports. The second major role is to provide relief to the victims and survivors through its civil court and suo moto powers,” she said adding that a robust connection between the commission, civil society and media would empower NCHR to effectively perform these two vital functions.
She said media plays a crucial role in protection and promotion of human rights. It informs, educates and sensitise the general public as well as policy makers, civil society and those implementing the laws and policies. Besides that, it connects people with the government and other stakeholders.
Dr Osama Siddique said that developing the commission’s strategic plan through consultations with civil society and the government across Pakistan ensures that diverse perspectives are considered as NCHR charts its plan for the coming years.
He said that human rights is a complex cross cutting area and it is incredibly important that there should be greater synergies and cooperation between all those who stand as custodians of human rights.
In her remarks, HeP Executive Director Seema Jaffer talked about the initiatives been taken by the project. She said that protection of human rights is the basis of all democratic and progressive societies. Internationally, human rights indicators determine the image of a country.
Participants suggested the commission to take measures for better connection at the grassroots level and ensure access of general public to the commission. They recommended the commission to engage with political parties and raise strong voice for human rights issues which have long been ignored.