MoHR Press Release Dated: 25-06-2019 Islamabad: The Ministry of Human Rights in collaboration with the British Council and HelpAge International launched a unique and comprehensive report on the status of aged persons in Pakistan on Tuesday. The report, Moving from the Margins: Promoting and Protecting the Rights of Older Person in Pakistan has been commissioned by the British Council and authored by Professor Asghar Zaidi, Senior Fellow at the University of Oxford and Professor of Social Gerontology at Seoul National University in Korea. The report delves deep into the current state of human rights of the elderly people in Pakistan. It discusses the possible drivers that affect the subgroups of Pakistani elderly, the policies and programmes that Pakistan needs to consider and interventions required. This is the first study on the state of older women and men in Pakistan using a human rights lens. Key policy recommendations for the protection of rights of older persons included in the study highlight the need to Improving access to economic opportunities, facilitating access to health, expanding and simplifying pension provisions and establishing leadership for ageing. With 12.5 million older men and women, Pakistan is one of the 15 countries in the world with an old person population of over ten million, projected to rise to 44 million by 2050. There is an urgent need in Pakistan for socio-economic policies, legislations and programs that safeguard the rights of older people in Pakistan. Secretary, Ministry of Human Rights, Rabiya Javeri Agha, addressed the launch and noted “While Pakistan’s culture and religion gives deference to the elderly; changing demographics, industrialisation, rising inflation, urban-rural migration, are seeing a shift to more independent ways of living, shrinking family structures and a slow deterioration of inter-generational ties and thus the treatment of elderly” She was pleased to announce that this will be remedied at the earliest. “We have already drafted a bill at Federal level which is currently under review and will be introducing it very soon. This research and its findings have been truly valuable and will continue to be so when designing policies and programme initiatives at both the federal and provincial level.” Speaking on the occasion, Rosemary Hilhorst Country Director British Council stated, “We need to create an age friendly environment and we need to address this issue by working together in order to improve access to economic opportunities for all, regardless of age.” Andrew Zerzen Lead Partner and Director Education, British Council said “the youth of today will be a part of the older persons population and we need to act now to protect their rights”. Subsequent to the launch, a round-table of key stakeholders met to discuss policy options in light of the report.
MoHR Press Release Dated: 20-06-2019 Islamabad: Human Rights Minister Dr Shireen M Mazari in her message on the eve of ‘World Refugee Day’ on Thursday has said Pakistan’s hosting of refugees in vast numbers has been exemplary and far beyond its resources. She said that it continues to host Afghan refugees despite loss of interest by world community and Prime Minister Imran Khan has moved to improve facilities for them. Dr Mazari stated that Pakistan has done all this despite not being a party to the 1951 Refugee Convention adding that In fact we should sign the Convention as we have gone far beyond its requirements without gaining any of the benefits and there is always more everyone can do better viz treatment of refugees. ‘But what is shameful is the way developed rich states have closed their doors to refugees or been selective in admitting refugees based on religion or skills or worse still paid money to Muslim states to host refugees on their behalf’, she further added
MoHR Press Release Dated: 17-06-2019 Islamabad: A representative delegation of Christian community led by Mr Joseph Francis, Member of the British Empire and National Director, Centre for Legal Aid Assistance and Settlement (CLAAS) called on the Federal Minister for Human rights Dr. Shireen M Mazari here in Islamabad on Monday. They discussed the various human rights issues relating to minorities. On this occasion, Minister said we are committed to ensure the fundamental rights of all our citizens in pursuance to our Constitution and International commitments. Delegation apprised the Minister about some of the issues which their community have been facing and also put forward some suggestions and she informed them that some of their suggestions are already being worked upon.
MoHR Press Release Dated: 11-06-2019 Islamabad: Federal Minister for Human Rights Dr Shireen M Mazari in her message on the eve of ‘World Day against Child Labour’ has said that Ministry of Human Rights is committed to a brighter future for the Children of Pakistan adding that protection of the rights of children is guided by Islamic injunctions and enshrined in the Constitution of Pakistan. In order to highlight the scourge of child labour, the Ministry of Human Rights has initiated a nationwide campaign on International Child Labor Day. “It is a proven fact that child labourers become adults who in turn subject their children to child labour and a vicious cycle of exploitation occurs in society”, says Secretary Ministry of Human Rights, Rabiya Javeri Agha. According to UN’s statistics, globally 1 out of 3 girls and 1 out of 5 boys are likely to be exploited before they reach age 18. Pakistan’s high population growth of around 1.6% poses multiple challenges which constrain resources and economic development. In a country where almost half of the population lives below the poverty line, and where literacy stands at a mere 58%, child labour is a deeply entrenched issue prevalent in almost all informal sectors of Pakistan’s economy. “Pakistan was one of the six initiators of the World Summit for Children in 1990 and took the lead in signing and ratifying the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC). Pakistan also ratified ILO Convention 182 on the Elimination of Worst Forms of Child Labour, and signed the optional protocols to the CRC on the involvement of children in armed conflict, prostitution and pornography. The protection of the rights of children is further guided by Islamic injunctions and enshrined in the Constitution of Pakistan”, says Dr Shireeen Mazari, Federal Minister of Human Rights. Article 3 of the Constitution of Pakistan declares that “the state shall ensure the eradication of all forms of exploitation”. And yet working children are the objects of the most extreme form of exploitation in terms of working conditions, health hazards and potential abuse. Employers capitalize on the docility of children who are often deprived of their childhood and relegated to a life of drudgery. Article 37(e) of the Constitution further qualifies that the state shall make provision for securing just and humane conditions of work, ensuring that women and children are not employed in vocations unsuited to their age or sex…” The Ministry of Human Rights has been proactive in its cognisance of the serious issue of child abuse, juvenile justice and child labour. To this end MoHR has been able to enact substantial laws such as the ICT Child Protection Act, the Criminal Law Amendment Act which criminalizes child exposure to pornography, cruelty and trafficking. In accordance with Employment of Children Act, whosoever employs any child or permits any child to work shall be punishable with imprisonment for a term which may extend to one year or with fine which may extend to up to PKR 50, 000 or with both. However, lack of enforcement of labor laws and restrictions continues and perpetuates child labour in the informal sector where the immediate priority of subsistence takes precedence over anything else. The Ministry of Human Rights recently enacted a new Juvenile Justice System Act, which focuses on disposal of cases through diversion and social-reintegration of juvenile offenders. They are also in the process of setting up a National Commission on Rights of the child and have recently drafted bills on corporal punishment, domestic workers and a policy on child abuse. Furthermore, with the support of UNICEF, they currently are working on developing an inter-ministerial protocol on missing children and a National Child Labour Survey. This survey is the first in 23 years and is the first time that Pakistan and UNICEF are using the SIMPOC ‘Statistical Information and Monitoring Programme on Child Labour through a fully digital platform. Through this household-based child labour survey Pakistan will have comprehensive data on the economic exploitation of children – a key human rights issue. It will also support Pakistan in realising SDG8.7 which calls for eradicating child labour in all its forms by 2015. The incidence of child employment impacts local labour markets. When there are more workers willing to work at a given wage than there are jobs, workers compete and drive down wages. Hence, the more child workers in the economy, the lower the wages of jobs those children compete for. This abundance of unskilled labour discourages the adoption of skill intensive technologies and the accumulation of human capital, leaving nations worse off in the long run. It is time that Pakistani society wake up to the dreadful issue of child labour prevalent in our country and ensures universal education and protection of its young citizens.
MoHR Press Release Dated: 27-05-2019 Islamabad: To commemorate Pakistan’s Youm-e-Takbeer, Strategic Studies Institute Islamabad organised a workshop titled:“Nuclear Pakistan: Exploiting Nuclear Technology for Peaceful Purposes” on Monday. Pakistan’s Federal Minister for Human Rights Dr Shireen Mazari delivered the keynote address at the occasion.She argued that it is pertinent to consider the peaceful uses of nuclear technology, which hasthe potential for contributing towards socio-economic development of Pakistan. Ex-chairman Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission, Dr Anser Pervaiz said that by conducting nuclear tests on 28 May, 1998 Pakistan overtly demonstrated its nuclear capability to defend itself against any aggression from its Eastern neighbor. Dr Pervaiz highlighted Pakistan’s achievements in developing peaceful nuclear energy, which is being utilized in various sectors including, health, agriculture and industry. He noted that Pakistan’s Nuclear Regulatory Authority (PNRA) has stringent regulations to ensure nuclear safety. Dr. Pervaiz noted that Pakistan established its first nuclear power plant in 1972, and called to focus greater attention on meeting the country’s energy needs through nuclear energy production that is both cleaner and more cost efficient in the long term. Director General Arms Control and Disarmament Division,Muhammad Kamran Akhtar discussed the political aspects of peaceful uses of nuclear energy. Mr. Akhter argued that the current nuclear order has undermined the inalienable right to peaceful nuclear technology for some countries.He argued that Pakistan was denied access to nuclear technology, whereas in 2008 the US signed a nuclear deal with India and pushed an exemption for India inside the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG). This waiver puts Pakistan at a strategic disadvantage vis-a-vis India, as India can now keep the imported fuel under safeguards while diverting its indigenous nuclear fuel towards military purposes. Kamran called forgreater indigenization of nuclear technology for peaceful purposes and called for commercialization of Pakistan’s supply capabilities in its civilian nuclear programme. He argued that as compared to India, Pakistan has a much cleaner separation between its civilian and military nuclear facilities. Dr. Shireen Mazari, Federal Minister for Human Rights in her closing remarks warned that if India becomes a member of the NSG, Pakistan’s entry into the group will be blocked and our access to technology will be adversely affected as all decisions in the NSG are taken through consensus. Mazari emphasized that Pakistan has a very strong safety record of its nuclear facilities and the country has successfully separated its civilian nuclear programme from its military component and called for pro-active diplomacy. Mazari stressed that Pakistan has achieved substantial gains in developing and utilizing nuclear technology for peaceful purposes.She added, “there comes a time when you stop appeasing the West and look at your own national interests” while calling for taking further steps towards utilizingnuclear technology for peaceful purposes, and called for exploring cooperation with other countries, including its neighbors.