PR No. 98 Islamabad

The International Human Rights Committee on Thursday concluded its consideration of the initial report of Pakistan on its implementation of the provisions of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.

The state delegation of Pakistan led by Federal Minister for Human Rights, Senator Kamran Michael, consisted of representatives from the Ministry of Human Rights, the Ministry of Law and Justice, the National Assembly, the National Commission for Human Rights, and the Permanent Mission of Pakistan to the United Nations Office at Geneva successfully presented its report.

Presenting the report to the Human Rights Committee at the conference regarding implementation of international covenant on Civil and Political Rights in Pakistan at Geneva, Switzerland, Senator Kamran Michael, Minister for Human Rights of Pakistan, stressed that Pakistan’ commitment to the protection of civil and political rights preceded its ratification of the Covenant. He said after extensive consultations with all stakeholders, including civil society, Pakistan had launched the historic National Action Plan on Human Rights in February 2016. The National Commission on Human Rights had been established and made functional in May 2015. Special administrative and legal measures had been taken to protect vulnerable groups, to curb and eliminate harmful customary practices, and to eliminate violence and discrimination against women. Kamran Michael said the rights of transgender and intersex persons had been recognized in Pakistan. “Pakistan was committed to preventing torture or ill-treatment committed by state functionaries. “Despite ongoing challenges, it was also committed to promote and protect freedom of religion or belief, and freedom of expression”, he added.

In the discussion, Experts noted positive measures taken by Pakistan to promote civil and political rights, such as the adoption of the National Plan on Human Rights, and the establishment of the National Commission on Human Rights. There was a strong legal tradition in Pakistan, and the rule of law was profoundly anchored in the country. Experts welcomed a number of measures and laws adopted to address violence against women and girls.

In his concluding remarks, Mr. Michael thanked the Committee Experts for an open and constructive dialogue. Challenges notwithstanding, the delegation expressed its readiness to implement relevant human rights laws and policies, and to allocate more resources to the protection and advancement of civil and political rights for Pakistan’s citizens.

Addressing the conference, Mr. Michael said Pakistan faced multiple challenges, which were complicated by terrorism and natural disasters. He further added that inspite of all these challenges; Government of Pakistan is implementing its international human rights obligations with commitment. He said the Government was working to introduce women friendly laws and to strengthen their economic and political empowerment. The country was moving to have more female representatives in politics and more female voters. “The adoption of the Anti-Rape Law and the Anti-Honour Killings Law testified to that effort, as well as the establishment of the National Council on the Status of Women. Shelter and legal and psychological aid were provided to victims of domestic violence. Violence against women had been addressed in a diligent manner, he added.

Kamran Michael, Minister for Human Rights in Pakistan, underlined that there was no organized discrimination of ethnic and religious minorities in Pakistan, noting that their rights were guaranteed by the Constitution. He said Pakistan’s counter-terrorism activities were in line with international and national laws added that Pakistan was committed to duly investigating all cases of torture and ill-treatment perpetrated by state functionaries. “The centrality of democracy was observed in every decision made by the Government”, the delegation stressed that the Government was fully committed to full implementation of the rights of children, women and minorities. The number of women in Parliament was the highest in Southeast Asia. Women’s development had been included in Government policies. As for reducing the number of early marriages however, the Government had taken measures in the area of family law to address those issues.

Margo Waterwal, Vice-Chairperson of the International Human Rights Committee, thanked the delegation and reminded that the Committee’s observations would be outlined in the concluding remarks.

The Committee will next meet in public on Friday.