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UN high commissioner hears civil society’s concerns

Lahore: The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay on Tuesday met with members of the religious minority communities and exchanged views with a gathering of civil society organisations’ representatives, lawyers and journalists here.

A larger group of civil society representatives later joined her for tea. All these meetings took place at the office of the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan.

The high commissioner briefly explained her mission to the civil society representatives but reserved her comments until the end of her visit to Pakistan when she will offer a more comprehensive response.

Representatives of minority communities raised the issues of discrimination, problems faced on account of the blasphemy law and discrimination in services and education. The civil society organisations raised issues of militancy, shrinking writ of the state, lack of security for journalists and human rights defenders, the freedom allowed to militants, the state of education, rise of extremism and intolerance among young people and children and the civil society’s concerns over the alternative dispute resolution mechanisms.

The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights had begun her four-day mission to Pakistan on 4 June at the invitation of the government.

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