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September 24, 2016

Call to resolve issues through talks

Lahore

September 24, 2016

LAHORE

Speakers and participants at a conference, organised by human rights activists, have expressed their concern over growing tension between India and Pakistan and appealed that both nations should resolve all their conflicts, including Kashmir issue through dialogue, and refrain from any war activities as it is always a mean of severe human rights violations especially any war would be a huge threat to the lives of billions of human beings living in both countries.  

The speakers and the participants unanimously resolved that international commitments should be fulfilled and the international human rights standards should be implemented in letter and spirit. Calling for an end to all forms of discrimination on the basis of religion, sect, social status or in any other form they also pressed that all forms of slavery in brick-kiln, factories, agriculture sector, or in other sectors should be checked thoroughly and necessary steps should be taken for its abolition.  

The conference was participated by human rights defenders, social activists, journalists, political activists, and students from Sindh, Punjab, KP, Balochistan, Fata, and Gilgit-Baltistan.The conference was chaired by Professor Dr Mehdi Hassan, and other speakers included IA Rehman (Secretary General Human Rights Commission of Pakistan), Samson Salamat, Mian Imran Masood (Information Secretary PML-Q), Ms Sadia Sohail (MPA PTI), Tahir Naveed, Abdullah Malik, Pandit Baghat Lal Khokhar and Pastor Emmanuel Khokhar.  

In his opening speech, Samson Salamat said "in today's conference we reiterate loudly our firm belief in democracy and that democracy is essential for a prosperous and human rights friendly Pakistan and it has the capability to deal with the crises prevailing in the country." 

He regretted that "the situation of human rights was deteriorating in the country which is a matter of grave concern and human rights do not seem the priority of the rulers despite the fact that Pakistan is duty bound to implement the International Human Rights Standards and fundamental human rights and freedom are guaranteed in the Constitution of Pakistan".

"Human rights should be given a priority to make society human rights friendly where all citizens are treated equally without any discrimination but unfortunately the fundamental freedom, including the freedom of speech, peaceful assembly, association and freedom of religion and belief are under threat in Pakistan while a huge portion of our population is deprived of education, health, safe drinking water, electricity and other basic facilities in the 21st Century" he added.  

IA Rehman stressed upon the need of pro-people policies to strengthen democratic system and to advance the situation of human rights.

Dr Mehdi Hassan criticised upon the distortion of history which led to the creation of different confusions in society and demanded that the history should be corrected. He emphasised that the speech of the Founder of Pakistan Quaid-e-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah to the Constituent Assembly on 11th of August, 1947 should be made part of the preface of the Constitution of Pakistan and the syllabus of the educational institutions.

The participants also expressed their concerns over the growing tension between India and Pakistan and appealed that both nations should resolve all their conflicts, including Kashmir issue through dialogue, and refrain from any war activities as it was always a mean of severe human rights violations especially any war would be a huge threat to the lives of billions of human beings living in both countries.  

The speakers and the participants unanimously resolved that international commitments should be fulfilled and the international human rights standards should be implemented in letter and spirit. Calling for an end to all forms of discrimination on the basis of religion, sect, social status or in any other form they also pressed that all forms of slavery in brick-kiln, factories, agriculture sector, or in other sectors should be checked thoroughly and necessary steps should be taken for its abolition.  

Disadvantaged people, including gypsies, trans-genders, sanitary workers, religious minorities, kiln workers, and special persons need special attention; therefore, immediate measures should be taken to ensure non-discrimination, free education, healthcare, clean environment and fair wages for these segments of the society. 

Sanitary workers normally operate in very inhumane working conditions and therefore proper safety measures should be provided and they should be treated with respect. 

Legislation should be made for the rights of special persons to give them equal opportunities and status in the society.

Trans-genders need special attention of society, especially of the government and state institutions to end discriminatory attitudes towards them. 

Keeping in view the frequent threats and killings to the working journalists and the human defenders, a comprehensive policy should be developed in consultation with relevant stake-holders.   

A comprehensive child rights policy in the light of Child Rights Convention should be made and implemented. Provincial Commission on the Rights of the Children should be established in all the provinces. All sorts of hate speech should be stopped and those responsible in spreading hatred and violence should be apprehended and dealt according to the law.

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