LARKANA: A two-day training workshop for human rights defenders titled ‘Security and Risk Management’ concluded here on Tuesday.

The Civil Society Support Programme (CSSP), Larkana chapter, in collaboration with the Rights of Expression, Assembly, Association and Thought (REAT) Network organised the workshop.

Human rights expert Tanveer Jahan conducted the workshop, which was attended by 40 human rights and social activists of Larkana.

Ms Jahan said that human rights defenders in Pakistan were a lifeline for human rights work and truly an endangered species.

“They are facing tremendous risks and are intimidated, harassed, abducted, detained and murdered as well,” she said and added that the UN General Assembly had passed a landmark declaration for human rights defenders in 1998, but it was sad that the state did not provide sufficient protection to them and the country lacked human right defenders protection mechanism.

She added that several human rights activists, including Zarteen Khan Afridi, Rashid Rehman, Parveen Rehman and Sabeen Mehmud, had rendered sacrifices for defending human rights, but their murderers had not been caught.

The workshop mainly dealt with assessing risks and threats to human rights campaigners and prepare personal, home and office security plans so that any threat to them could be averted.

She asked the participants not to exaggerate the volume of services they rendered, as the bigger the claim would enhance the risk to them. Exact and true services should be portrayed, she added.

Afzal Sheikh of the CSSP said that they had formed a district level group of 45 human rights activists who kept close a close watch on district level human rights situation and raise voice against violations especially against minorities.

He said that the objective of the workshop was to build capacity of individuals and organisations and increase their awareness of threats and vulnerabilities so that they could manage their personal security.

The event was attended by Syed Jawed Shah, Shamsuddin Chandio, Imtiaz Gorar, Qadir Bakhsh Qamangar, Advocate Sattar Hulio, Khalida Sahar, Hameeda Kalhoro, officials of the police department and other civil society activists.

In concluding ceremony, certificates were distributed among participants.

Published in Dawn, July 1st, 2015

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