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Human rights priorities

60 22 133

ON Monday, when the nations of the world celebrate the 70th anniversary of the signing of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the Pakistan government too will be expected to not only count what has been done to guarantee the people’s human rights, but also to reflect on what remains to be done.

The first task for the state, for obvious reasons, is to improve its capacity to protect the rights of all citizens to life, liberty and security, especially of the socially and economically weaker sections of society. Quite high still is the number of people who lose their lives due to preventable causes, such as lack of the minimum necessary health cover, road accidents, killing of women for mens’ honour, so-called police encounters and targeting of religious/ ethnic minority communities and sects.

Even the high rates of infant and maternal mortality seem to have been dropped from the list of national concerns. The right to dignity of person is denied to a preponderant majority with near-total impunity for its violators. The labour unions and students and civil society organisations (CSOs) are complaining of extraordinary restrictions on their right to freedom of association. The Exit Control List is being blatantly abused to deny the right to go abroad. Enforced disappearances amount to the denial of all the three basic rights — life, liberty and security. And women and minorities have been kept waiting for years for a fair dispensation.

Perhaps the most........

© Dawn