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December 11, 2018

‘Constant struggle is important to ensure equality’

Karachi

December 11, 2018

Different organisations representing the civil society held a news conference at the Karachi Press Club on Monday to commemorate Human Rights Day and announce a relevant event to be held on December 16.

Before the conference, Tehrik-e-Niswan performed on a song based on the words of Majrooh Sultanpuri about the class divide and how all humans are equal. Tehrik-e-Niswan’s Sheema Kermani said seven decades have passed since the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) was passed, but despite ratification, implementation is yet to be seen in many areas. “There are people languishing in jails, and what’s worse is the families of those who have been abducted continue to wait for them to return. Be it basic rights of water, utilities, health or education, the citizens are waiting to breathe in an atmosphere where equality prevails.”

Sheema said that constant struggle is important to ensure equality, and that human dignity is the basic right of everyone. She added that she is using the arts to reach out to people who have limited resources and access to information on their rights. “The privileged don’t own the arts, and everyone has the right to be entertained.”

Human Rights Commission of Pakistan’s (HRCP) Asad Butt said the UDHR’s right to life article does not mean that a human just breathes, but it rather highlights the importance of a healthy life where the rights are protected and the person is not oppressed in any aspect of their life.

Sheema also pointed out that it was Shaista Ikramullah who led the UDHR’s Article 16 pertaining to the right to marry, and yet many men and women cannot marry out of their own choice and young girls are wedded off against their will.

Pastor Ghazala Shafique lamented that the current situation is hostile for the minorities, especially in the light of the Asia Bibi verdict. “Schoolchildren are being taught hate speech and they’re now raising slogans against our community, which makes these places unsafe for our kids.”

Szabist’s Dr Riaz Sheikh referred to the UDHR’s freedom of expression article in the context of growing resentment towards dissent as well as the freedom of association regarding students’ right to organise in their institutions. The civil society representatives announced that an event will be held at the Arts Council this Sunday to commemorate Human Rights Day through the arts as well as speeches about its importance.

Seminar

Speakers at a seminar expressed serious concern over human rights violations in the country and stressed the need to make collective efforts to resolve the issue, adds our correspondent.

The National Party’s Sindh chapter organised the event at the PMA House, while Dr Abdul Malik Baloch, the central president of the party and former Balochistan chief minister, was the key speaker.

Others speakers were Jan Muhammad Buledi, Senator Tahir Bizenjo, Yasim Lahri, Ramzan Memon, Dr Tausif Ahmed Khan and Mirza Maqsood. Speakers said that the party would try its best to protest against human rights violations in the country with a particular focus on the poor and the deprived. They also showed the concerns against increasing cases of enforced disappearances in the country.