Monday September 20, 2021

Gilgit-Baltistan to launch first provincial human rights policy

September 04, 2021

Islamabad : To strengthen the protection and promotion of citizens’ rights in the region, the Government of Gilgit-Baltistan (GB) plans to launch its first human rights policy in October 2021.

This was announced by Khalid Khurshid Khan, Chief Minister GB, after a meeting with Barrister Salman Afridi, Senior Policy Expert for the European Union funded ‘Huqooq-e-Pakistan’ (HeP) programme.

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.

During the meeting, Afridi presented a working draft of the Gilgit-Baltistan Human Rights Policy which has been developed by the HeP under the leadership of its Executive Director, Ali Dayan Hasan.

The policy draft was developed after extensive engagement with key stakeholders in GB, including government departments, civil society organisations and development agencies. Afridi outlined that the objective of the GB Human Rights Policy is to mainstream human rights in the region’s governance structures in order to safeguard and promote all civil, political, social, cultural, and economic rights that the people of GB are entitled to.

“Gilgit-Baltistan will have its human rights policy through a province-led process. To be formulated with the support of the Chief Minister 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.

The Chief Minister endorsed the HeP-led policy development process. The CM directed the HeP team to further refine the policy after holding further consultations with Gilgit-Balistan’s government departments, civil society organisations, and development agencies. He stated that his government would make every effort to reflect the voices and concerns of the people of GB in their first human rights policy.

“In addition to GB’s first-ever human rights policy with a focus on the environment and human rights, HeP has supported the deployment of young experts in the Social Welfare and Human Rights Department to bridge human-resource gaps,” explained Ali Dayan Hasan, Executive Director of the Huqooq-e-Pakistan project. “Several trainings have also been organised on Pakistan’s international human rights reporting obligations, personal development, and leadership skills as well as other core-skills,” said Hasan, adding that the project has also developed human rights knowledge base of Gilgit-Baltistan’s human rights-related departments through the provision of e-journals, e-databases and publications.”