QUETTA: Government and civil society representatives at a workshop in its concluding session discussed a human rights policy draft and finalised recommendations to be incorporated in a revised policy.

The consultative workshop was organised by the European Union-funded ‘Promotion of Human Rights in Pakistan (Huqooq-e-Pakistan)’ Project (HeP) in collaboration with Balochistan human rights department. The programme was part of a systematic, methodical and inclusive policy development process that integrates provincial priorities with international best practices.

Representatives of over 20 government departments participated in the workshop besides civil society representation from Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP), Aurat Foundation, multiple UN agencies and others.

At the workshop that concluded on Thursday, participants were given an overview of the draft policy that was followed by a presentation of recommendations from different stakeholders.

Guided by the Constitution and pursuant to Pakistan’s international human rights commitments as stipulated in various international human rights instruments, the objective of the human rights policy draft is to mainstream human rights in provincial governance structures in order to safeguard and promote all civil, political, social, cultural and economic rights that the people of Balochistan are entitled to.

Recognising their specific needs and the unique challenges faced by them, the policy particularly aims to safeguard the rights of vulnerable segments of the population including women, children, minorities, senior citizens, differently-abled and transgender persons.

Abdul Rauf Baloch, provincial secretary of the social welfare, special education, literacy, non-formal education and human rights, termed it a big achievement that Balochistan’s “first human rights policy” was in its final stages.

He thanked the HeP team for their support and said the policy would provide basic guidelines and direction for future action plan of the provincial government.

“Protection and promotion of human rights is the priority of the present government. After incorporating the feedback, the policy will be presented before the provincial government,” he vowed.

In his welcome remarks, HeP Project Executive Director Ali Dayan Hasan said the purpose of the consultative workshop was to present the policy draft to all stakeholders and obtain their detailed input on each section.

“The HeP is proud of the fact that this is a province-led and province-controlled process and will empower Balochistan as well as the values enshrined in the 18th Amendment,” he said.

Published in Dawn, June 12th, 2021

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