KARACHI: The Sindh Human Rights Commission (SHRC) has organised a session to discuss issues facing the fundamental rights of the transgender persons in the country.

Speakers at the session, chaired by SHRC chairperson Iqbal Detho, called for concerted action to addressing systemic inadequacies and ensuring equitable access to rights and opportunities for the transgender community in Sindh.

Speaking on the occasion, Mr Detho ighlighted the imperative of recognising the rights of the transgender community on par with others and emphasised leveraging the Yogyakarta Principles (a document about human rights) and International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights to advance transgender persons’ rights, said a press release issued on Saturday.

Barrister Rida Tahir, legal adviser at the SHRC, highlighted the organisation’s proactive approach towards cases involving the transgender community. Stressing the importance of non-discrimination and equality, she reiterated the rights enshrined in the Transgender Person’s Protection of Rights Act 2018 and 2020 Rules.

Moreover, BarristerTahir detailed the SHRC’s initiatives, including specialised trainings conducted for law enforcement and judicial officials to enhance awareness of transgender rights. She also emphasised the imperative of enacting provincial laws in Sindh post 18th Amendment to uphold the rights of transgender individuals effectively.

Ehtasham Shahid, director general of the National Database and Registration Authority (Nadra’s) regional head office in Karachi, reaffirmed the fundamental right of legal identity for all individuals, including transgender persons.

He clarified Nadra’s role in providing identity documents to registered individuals, highlighting the organisation’s commitment to upholding rights while navigating legal complexities.

Throughout the meeting, various stakeholders voiced concerns and proposed solutions. Mustafa Ali and Muhammad Bux from the Social Welfare Department in Sukkur and Hyderabad, respectively, provided insights into ongoing initiatives supporting transgender individuals, including stipend disbursements and enrolment figures.

Deputy Director of the Community Development Center for Transgender in Karachi Ambreen Mubarak underscored the challenges posed by the lack of formal identification, hindering access to allocated funds and benefits.

Bindya Rana of the Gender Interactive Alliance advocated for counseling for Nadra staff, while Kami Sid of Subrang Society highlighted the criticality of security and legal documentation for the transgender community.

Sana Khan of Bridge Consultation Foundation commended the SHRC’s support in resolving identification issues, reflecting the impact of collaborative efforts.

Founder and CEO of the Peace & Justice Network Syed Raza Ali announced the development of tailored guidelines for the transgender community, aimed at streamlining processes and enhancing support mechanisms.

Published in Dawn, April 21st, 2024

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