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October 25, 2020

Balochistan to formulate first human rights policy

Islamabad

October 25, 2020

Islamabad : To strengthen the protection, promotion and enforcement of human rights, the Balochistan government, with the support of Huqooq-e-Pakistan project (HeP), will develop its first human rights policy. The policy will be developed after consultation with all stakeholders. The policy will also build upon legislative and policy initiatives already undertaken by the Balochistan government and expand the scope and scale of future endeavours.

“Balochistan will have its human rights policy through a province-led process. To be formulated under the guidance of the Social Welfare and Human Rights Department, this policy is aimed at mainstreaming human rights standards throughout the administrative and government structures at the provincial level,” said Barrister Salman Afridi, HeP’s Policy Expert.

Balochistan Governor Amanullah Khan Yasinzai welcomed the commencement of activities in the province by the European Union funded Promotion of Human Rights in Pakistan (Huqooq-e-Pakistan) project. The governor was responding to a briefing by a HeP delegation led by Senior Key Expert Ali Dayan Hasan. Senior HeP Policy Expert Barrister Salman Afridi, Training Expert Usama Nasim and HeP Balochistan Coordinator Sultan Mohammad also briefed the Governor on project interventions planned for the province under the EU’s flagship human rights project.

The HeP is a European Union (EU) funded programme with the objective of supporting the continued efforts of the government of Pakistan for the promotion of human rights. The purpose of the programme is to strengthen the institutional and policy framework at the federal and the provincial level for the promotion and protection of human rights.

Besides formulation of first ever human rights policy, the project will undertake several other initiatives in Balochistan to strengthen human rights protection mechanisms. Explaining a few initiatives, senior key expert HeP programme Ali Dayan Hasan said that the project is supporting deployment of young experts from the province in Social Welfare and Human Rights Department to bridge human-resource gaps in successfully carrying out its mandate.

“Besides that, several trainings will be organised under this initiative on Pakistan’s international human rights obligations, human rights documentation, data collection and enhancement of IT skills,” said Hasan, adding that the project will also be working on developing human rights knowledge base of the Balochistan human rights related departments through the provision of e-journals, e-databases and publications.

He said that another major activity will be the formulation of guidelines for cooperation and collaboration between provincial Human Rights Departments and the Federal Ministry of Human Rights.

In his remarks, the Governor appreciated the support of HeP project and expressed hope that the collaboration and support will continue in future. The Governor placed special emphasis on replicating not just international best practices but best practices developed nationally and at the provincial level. He urged HeP to look at Model Prison developed in Quetta and suggested replication of the same through training across the province. The governor reaffirmed Pakistan’s commitment to the rule of law. “It is the responsibility of the state to protect the rights of citizens and both the federal government and the Balochistan provincial government are committed to doing so,” he added.