South Asians for Human Rights

Promoting Democracy, Upholding Human Rights

A two-day workshop organised by the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH) and the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) concluded with demands for urgent measures to end violence, discrimination and marginalisation faced by the citizens on account of their religious beliefs.

Members of religious minority groups and minority Muslim sects from different parts of Pakistan participated in the workshop in Karachi, describing the gradual worsening of their respective situations. The role of authorities in the perpetration of institutionalised discrimination on grounds of religion was largely evidenced. The participants stated that the authorities — through their failure to adequately intervene despite Pakistan’s obligation under UN treaties stressing equality, dignity, rule of law and protection of human rights of all Pakistanis — rendered themselves responsible for serious violations of international human rights law, including the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. The absence of or inadequate and inappropriate intervention were highlighted in several sectors:

The violence, while initially targeting minorities, now threatens civil society and all progressive elements — including human rights defenders and conscious citizens who demand respect for human rights — and those who defend them, notably the independent media. Beyond these are the fundamentals of the Pakistan nation, and its economic and social survival which are endangered. It is thus fundamental to respond to such violence by addressing its root causes, and ensuring respect and promotion of equality of human rights of all Pakistanis irrespective of their faith and religion.

The Paris-based FIDH is the world’s oldest human rights body, an NGO with a membership of 178 organisations operating in over 100 countries. The FIDH delegation to Pakistan included four eminent human rights activists – Shawan Jabarin (Palestine), Rosemarie Trajano (Philippines), Antoine Madelin (France) and Ihsan Ali Fauzie (Indonesia).

Source: Daily Times – 29.01.2014 –