04/23/2008, 00.00
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Islamabad signs three UN human rights conventions

by Qaiser Felix
According to the National Commission for Justice and Peace this is a good first step that must be followed up with a real policy in favour of human rights, one that fights discrimination and upholds the constitution.

Lahore (AsiaNews) – Pakistan’s ratification of three key United Nations human rights conventions is a good first step. Now Islamabad must show it truly intends to defend coexistence by fighting discrimination and prejudices, this according to the National Commission for Justice and Peace and the Democratic Commission for Human Development which release a statement after Pakistan's Permanent Representative to the United Nations signed the Convention against Torture and other Cruel, Inhuman and Degrading Punishments, the International Convention on Civil and Political Rights and the International Convention on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights.

In the communiqué signed Mgr Lawrence John Saldanha, archbishop of Lahore, and Tanveer Jahan, the two commissions said that while this development shows a new attitude towards human rights, it still falls far short of where the world stands on the matter.

For this reason they recommend the government adopt a human rights policy reflecting a commitment to uphold the constitution and protect rights enshrined in the laws.

They also want the authorities to set up an effective mechanism for monitoring and overseeing the implementation of such a policy by establishing independent, statutory and credible national human rights institutions with the power to investigate human rights violations and provide remedies.

The commissions also want the government to adopt a package of legal and constitutional reforms to address all forms of discrimination as well as introduce new legislation to accommodate plurality and diversity in society.

Lastly the statement called on government officials and departments to show tolerance for criticism when their performance can be called into question.

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