Shireen Mazari unveils two-year performance report of MoHR

Ministry of Human Rights (MoHR) has enacted six laws and drafted seven legislations besides taking practical measure to implement the laws through monitoring, training, institutional development and sensitisation.

The information was shared by the Federal Minister for Human Rights Shireen Mazari while addressing a press conference organised by the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting on Wednesday to share the two-year progress of different ministries.

Minister for Human Rights Shireen Mazari said that human rights are central to any country’s foreign policy and all international trade agreements are based on the implementation of international commitments related to human rights signed or ratified by that particular country. “No government gave importance to human rights as is given by the PTI government. Protection of human rights is the one of the priority agendas of Prime Minister Imran Khan,” she said.

She said that many rights related laws have been enacted in last two years including The Zainab Alert, Response and Recovery Act, 2019, Legal Aid and Justice Authority Act 2020, Diyat, Arsh and Daman Fund Rules Amendment in which age of poor and deserving prisoners were reduced from 60 to 40 years, insertion of “Child Domestic Work” in Part I of Schedule of the Employment of Children Act 1991 and The ICT Child Protection Act, 2018 and Juvenile Justice System Act 2018.

She shared that laws that are pending due to procedural issues include ICT Rights of Persons with Disability Bill 2020, Torture, Custodial Death and Custodial Rape (Prevention and Punishment) Bill 2020, Christian Marriage and Divorce Bill 2020, Domestic Violence Bill 2020, Islamabad Capital Territory Senior Citizen Bill 2020. The prohibition of Corporal Punishment Bill 2019 and Enforced Disappearance Bill, 2019. She expressed hope that the Information Ministry would soon vet the Journalists Protection Act so that it could be presented in the Parliament.

Shireen Mazari said that the Ministry took up 6094 cases of human rights violations with the relevant authorities for redressal and 16924 complaints received on Pakistan Citizen Portal were processed, forwarded and referred in last two years. Besides that, she said that 508 victims of human rights violations were given financial assistance of Rs. 6.52 million.

She said that in past two years of her tenure, 499,466 calls were received on ministry’s Helpline and in response, 10,133 eligible callers were given legal services, 1265 cases of women were redressed by MoHR Women Shelter in Islamabad, 67 children were reunified with their parents whereas 185 children were provided non-formal education through National Child Protection Center and 84 cases of human rights victims were taken up personally by her which were followed up for redressal. In order to send a help signal to the service provider, she said that the ministry would soon introduce a code which victims of violence would be able to dial after connecting to helpline.

She informed media persons about the public awareness campaigns run by the ministry to create awareness about women’s right to inheritance, child abuse, youth leadership and rights of transgender, girl child, disability and old age persons. Besides that, awareness campaigns related to COVID 19 and rights of vulnerable population was also a focus of the ministry during the pandemic. She also talked about the virtual film festival on human rights organized by the Ministry showcasing 12 films and panel discussions.

She said that highlighting human rights violations in Indian Occupied Kashmir and taking forward the narrative of Prime Minister Imran Khan where he compared Prime Minister Modi with Hitler also remained one of the priorities of the ministry during her tenure.

The Federal Minister further shared that the ministry established National Commission on Rights of Child, National Committee for Implementation of Transgender Persons Act 2018, Child Protection Board, committee to review mercy petitions and consultative committee on child beggary. In addition to that, Action Plan for Human Rights 2016 was revised, Action Plan for Child Abuse was prepared, interagency protocols on child abuse for childcare institutions at ICT level were developed and model policy on violence against women was drafted.