ISLAMABAD: On the eve of World Human Rights Day, speakers at a seminar said no country can achieve progress without ensuring human rights.

The event, ‘Linking Human Rights with Pakistan’s SDGs 2030 Agenda: Leaving No One Behind’ was organised by Parliamentary Task Force on SDGs and Parliamentarians Commission for Human Rights (PCHR) at the Pakistan Institute of Parliamentary Services on Monday.

Human Rights Day is observed across the world on Dec 10 to commemorate the United Nations General Assembly’s adoption and proclamation of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) in 1948.

National Assembly Deputy Speaker Qasim Suri, while speaking to participants of the seminar, said parliament was the custodian of human rights and it would ensure human rights in the country.

Awards were presented by the PCHR to members of parliament for advancing the cause of human rights.

Lawmakers given awards for advancing cause of human rights on eve of international day

Those who received the awards included MNAs Nafeesa Khattak (PTI), Mahnaz Aziz (PTI), Nafisa Shah (PPP), ombudsperson Kashmala Tariq and former PPP senator Farhatullah Babar.

Speaking on the occasion, Mr Babar said human rights were under siege everywhere and more so in Pakistan and it was the shared duty of all to help improve the rights situation.

“Let us stand for human rights for everyone, everywhere and every time.”

He said the frontiers of human rights were constantly expanding and what was a privilege yesterday was a right today like education, health and right to information.

He called upon the PCHR to move a resolution in the National Assembly for the restoration of student unions and withdrawal of cases against those who participated in the recent Students Solidarity March.

The Senate and the Sindh Assembly have already done so, he said.

National Assembly Standing Committee on Law and Justice Chairman Riaz Fatyana said 92pc targets of the sustainable development goals were related to human rights.

“There are 17 goals of SDGs and 169 targets. Out of them, 156 targets are human rights related. We cannot progress without rule of law,” he said.

PCHR Executive Director Chaudhry Shafique said basic human rights needed to be ensured across the country.

“If we want to progress we need to make sure that everyone should be treated equally and there would be no discrimination on the basis of caste, race and gender,” he said.

Published in Dawn, December 10th, 2019