The portal will enable users to learn about rights guaranteed to them through the constitution as well as federal and provincial legislation.

By Zahid Hussain Khan, Islamabad

Jan 29 2021

Initiative aims to cultivate greater civic engagement in a country notorious for rights abuses

Pakistan’s Ministry of Human Rights has launched the country’s first human rights information resource portal.

The portal, developed in partnership with the European Union, is envisioned to serve as a “central repository of up-to-date and cutting-edge human rights knowledge” for students, academics, practitioners and citizens at large.

It will serve as a platform for increasing awareness about human rights laws, practices and gaps, facilitating the development of new initiatives, research, policies and solutions.

It includes comprehensive material on the domestic institutional human rights framework and international commitments as well as reports and publications that have been published by the government, civil society organizations and UN agencies on critical rights issues.

The portal will enable users to learn about rights guaranteed to them through the constitution as well as federal and provincial legislation.

Laws are categorized according to provinces as well as themes including civil, political and economic rights; children’s rights; women’s rights; and rights of minorities.

Information is also available on various institutions and bodies designed to promote and protect human rights at federal and provincial level, including legislative bodies, human rights committees, provincial human rights departments and statutory bodies.

Comprehensive training resources and materials will also be available on the portal for the benefit of human rights practitioners and personnel.

The training resources cover a range of topics such as Pakistan’s international human rights obligations and data collection and documentation. Further training resources will be aimed at enhancing capacity of the judiciary, prosecution and law enforcement agencies.

“The portal is an important and innovative initiative that increases the availability and accessibility of information that is integral for promulgating greater awareness about human rights in Pakistan,” Minister for Human Rights Shireen Mazari said at the launch of the portal.

“Ultimately we are hopeful that it will cultivate greater civic engagement and play a part in creating an enabling environment for citizens to exercise their rights in Pakistan.”

Secretary for Human Rights Inamullah Khan also spoke about the significance of the initiative.

“The collaboration between the European Union in Pakistan and the Ministry of Human Rights in establishing this portal is a quintessential step towards ensuring good governance. The platform will ensure that students, academics, practitioners, policy makers and the general public have access to updated and relevant information for the protection and promotion of human rights in Pakistan.”

EU ambassador Androulla Kaminara expressed her appreciation of this initiative that is in line with priority 2 of the Democracy, Rule of Law, Good Governance, and Human Rights of the Strategic engagement plan concluded between the government of Pakistan and the EU.

“Access to information is crucial for citizens in an open, democratic and transparent society. The comprehensive collection and digitalization of key information about human rights in Pakistan and open access to all Pakistani citizens is an important step towards this goal.”

The portal can be accessed on the Ministry of Human Rights website here. – UCANews