ISLAMABAD, Pakistan: Human rights stakeholders were briefed on the 100-day agenda of the National Commission for Human Rights (NCHR) at the Commission’s launch event organized on Thursday with the support of the EU-funded Huqooq-e-Pakistan project.
Parliamentarians, Ambassadors, Country Heads of UN Agencies and INGOs, representatives of Civil Society Organizations, and government officials attended the event which started with a minute of silence for the victims of Army Public School.
Bishop Samuel Robert Azraya also attended the event.
The event also featured a mesmerizing literary performance by famous artist and director Sarmad Khosat who recited Faiz Ahmad Faiz’s poem “Aaj Kay Naam” as well as poetry from Kishwar Naheed, Syeda Ayesha Hassan, and Zehra Nigah.
In her welcome remarks, the Chairperson NCHR Rabiya Javeri Agha said that despite serious financial, human resource, capacity, and regulatory constraints, the Commission is all set to begin the challenging journey and looks forward to collaborating with stakeholders for the protection of human rights in the Country.
“It is with great pride and honor that I would like to inform of the launching of NCHR after a gap of two years. We are working with the guiding principles of inclusive leadership, empowerment of regional offices and fearlessly protecting human rights in Pakistan,” Rabiya Javeri Agha said.
The Chairperson said that for the first 100 days, the Commission’s priority would be to commence the disposal of more than 1,734 pending complaints, review human rights legislation, draft human rights policy briefs, and initiate work on independent reports and human rights research papers.
In addition to that, she said the Commission plans to conduct an analysis of international treaties vis a vis domestic legislation besides developing a strategic plan, website, and other social media platforms and start GANHRI accreditation process. Another priority area would be to draft rules, regulations and take necessary capacity-building initiatives.
Speaking on this occasion, the Federal Minister for Human Rights Dr. Shireen Mazari said that after a long journey and numerous hurdles in the selection of the Commission, she was glad to attend the launch event.
“Selection of this Commission is very encouraging. I have great hopes from the new team,” she said.
The EU Ambassador to Pakistan Androulla Kaminara said that she is delighted to be at the re-launch of NCHR.
“The tasks ahead are huge and I wish the Chairperson and her members success. I am sure NCHR is in very safe and capable hands,” she said adding that the EU has stressed on the importance of human rights commissions and believes that it is essential to ensure the protection of human rights in a Country.
Senator Walid Iqbal extended best wishes to the institution in carrying out its broad and over-arching mandate of promotion, protection, and fulfillment of human rights as provided by the constitution of Pakistan and international treaties.
Filmmaker and human rights activist Samar Minallah stressed for the use of art and film as a catalyst for social change.
“These stories and advocacy tools are the best way to highlight problems and solutions that are indigenous and relatable,” Samar Minallah said.