Islamabad: The Universal Human Rights Day, observed the world over on December 10th every year is an occasion to visit the score card in advancing the human rights agenda. It is also an occasion to reiterate our resolve to uphold basic human rights of all individuals regardless of caste, creed or any other consideration.
Respect for human rights is basic to our religion. . It upholds the eternal values of equal rights, social justice and peace, and banishes discrimination on the basis of class, colour or creed. Our leaders and people have suffered hugely in the struggle to ensure the basic right to the people to live in security and dignity. Indeed our leader Shaheed Mohtarma Bhutto laid down her life for the cause. While returning to Pakistan from exile in October 2007 despite dangers to her life she said she was doing it “for the right of men and women to live in security and dignity and in liberty”.
Democracy, Peace, Freedom and Human Rights are interlinked. On this occasion we reiterate our commitment to the democratic progress and freedom that have been achieved at great sacrifice. We also reiterate our pledge to fight militancy to the finish and restore peace. We will continue working towards ending poverty and ensuring equality and non-discrimination for creating a peaceful society. We believe that ending militancy and alleviating poverty will usher in peace and freedom both essential for the flowering of human dignity and potential.
The score card of the present government with regard to signing and ratifying human rights convention is commendable. Of the nine core international human rights conventions, the government has ratified or signed seven. Three important international human rights conventions pertaining to ending torture, ensuring civil and political rights of citizens without discrimination and the rights of the disabled were not only signed but also ratified during the tenure of the present democratic government. It is an impressive record indeed.
I am confident that after having signed and ratified, the government is also taking appropriate steps for the implementation of these conventions.
Let us on this day also spare a thought to the vulnerable sections of society particularly the women and minorities. Let us pause and reflect how some laws have been misused against them. On this day I call upon every man and woman of conscience to raise voice against the misuse of some laws against the women and minorities. On this day I commend the UN for observing this day globally and also pay homage to those who have suffered in the course of the struggle for human rights.