ISLAMABAD, Pakistan: The Chairperson National Commission for Human Rights (NCHR) Rabiya Javeri Agha interacted with media practitioners at a consultation session organized in Islamabad on Thursday.
The session was held in collaboration with European Union-funded Huqooq-e-Pakistan Project (HeP).
Journalists belonging to print, electronic and digital media participated in the session. They expressed their views about the state of human rights in Pakistan and their level of awareness of NCHR’s role and mandate.
The participants also held extensive discussions on NCHR functions and ways of effective collaboration between the Commission and human rights stakeholders, especially the general public.
The session was also addressed by NCHR Member Minority Manzoor Masih and Executive Director HeP Seema Jaffer.
The Chairperson NCHR Rabiya Javeri Agha informed the participants that the Commission is currently working on a legislative review of mental health regulations, prison rules and laws on minority affairs, and the state of the implementation of these laws.
Rabiya Javeri Agha said that opinions and recommendations of the participants would be taken into account while preparing the NCHR’s Strategic Plan and determining the next steps for the Commission.
The Chairperson said that the Commission has a broad mandate. “One of the main functions of the Commission is to inform the government of the problems faced by the people and civil society in the form of reports. The second major role is to provide support to the victims and survivors through its Civil Court and Suo Moto powers,” she said adding that a robust connection between Commission, civil society, and media would empower NCHR to effectively perform these two vital functions.
She said the media is an important stakeholder in the protection and promotion of human rights in the country. “It informs, educates, and sensitizes the general public as well as policymakers, civil society, and those implementing the laws and policies. Besides that, it connects people with the government and other stakeholders,” she said.
The NCHR Member Minority Manzoor Masih urged the media to play an effective role in the protection of minority rights.
Manzoor Masih stressed for a strong partnership between media and NCHR to highlight the situation of vulnerable groups in Pakistan.
The participants pointed out capacity issues, prevailing media crisis and priorities of media organizations as major issues that lead to lack of motivation to focus on reporting human rights.
They suggested Commission to take measures for better connection at the grassroots level and ensure access of the general public to the Commission.