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Human rights obligations

61 11 43

IN addition to the domestic pressures for expeditious completion of its national human rights agenda, the state of Pakistan has to ensure that it keeps fulfilling on time the pledges it made to the international community during the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) a year ago.

The UPR provides an opportunity for a most thorough scrutiny of a state’s human rights record. Since citizens have a right to know how their state has fared on the UPR, and they also have possibilities of contributing to the periodic stock-taking, it is necessary that they familiarise themselves with the process before looking at the commitments made by Pakistan.

The UPR scheme was launched by the UN General Assembly in 2008, to be carried out by the Human Rights Council (HRC) that had replaced the UN Human Rights Commission as the international rights monitoring body. The HRC reviews a member state’s human rights record every four to five years. Pakistan has had its reviews in 2008-2009, 2012 and 2017.

On the latest occasion, a three-state group was formed to facilitate the country’s UPR; Pakistan presented a national report; and the office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) prepared a working paper and a summary. A list of questions prepared by 14 countries was sent to Islamabad in advance. Then Pakistan made a presentation at a hearing in which 111 countries made statements and recommendations.

The UPR provides an opportunity for a most thorough scrutiny of the state’s human rights record.

In his presentation, the then foreign minister made an astonishing claim — that the national report had been........

© Dawn