Pakistan: Human Rights Commission a “step in the right direction" for Pakistan

world | Dec 09, 2011 | By Asia News

Lahore - Among the measures pending in the National Assembly (Parliament) of Pakistan, there is also the law that will lead to the creation of the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC). For the final go-ahead the vote of both Houses, the ratification of President Zardari and the choice of members are still needed, but the scheduling of the bill "is great news," says the Christian activist Peter Jacob, because it is the "right step" towards the strengthening of "standards and values based on human dignity and rights." The executive secretary of the National Commission for Justice and Peace (NCJP) of the Catholic Church of Pakistan adds that it will reduce the delays in the justice system and bypass the "rigidity of obsolete laws."

The declaration of intent accompanying the law stresses that "there are 56 nations in the world where this type of organization is operating", born also thanks to pressure from the United Nations and international treaties. Peter Jacob explains that in addition to affecting the human rights situation in Pakistan - the UN Council will meet in October 2012 to assess the reality of the country - the newly born body will be of " added value " and have "enormous potential" because it creates an institution based on the universal values “of rights and freedoms." He adds that the functioning of the organism, within Pakistani bureaucracy, is "a huge challenge for the NHRC," which will have to meet "high expectations".

Regarding the composition, the Christian activist says that 11 members will have to be "motivated, capable and able to quickly develop answers" to problems and needs. An efficient machine and able to move both nationally and in accordance with individual provincial governments, taking a cue from some of the directives of the Indian and South Korean models. The "role" played by this new institution, continues Peter Jacob, along with the quality of "formation" and the degree of its "autonomy" will be crucial to its success. In addition, in order to avoid past failures its "economic and legal autonomy", which Parliament will be called to guarantee, is essential.

However, sys the executive secretary of NCJP, "the biggest challenge" will be to "create a culture of human rights in the social, political and judicial system", which today is struggling to recognize this fundamental and essential value. The country is tired of discrimination, says Peter Jacob, and it is time to implement the principle of the "equal rights of citizens", which until now has remained a solely theoretical value without any practical application. Finally, he also suggests the formation of a commission for truth and reconciliation, but most of all, points out that a "strong start" is needed because "it is urgent."

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