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> “PILDAT Suggestions to amend the National Commission for Human Rights Bill 2008 are adopted by the National Assembly Standing Committee on Human Rights,” says Ms. Fauzia Habib at PILDAT Legislative Forum
   
 
PILDAT Legislative Forum
April 12, 2011
Islamabad


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Islamabad, April 12, 2011; Most of the suggestions presented by PILDAT to amend the draft National Commission for Human Rights Bill 2008 are accepted by the National Assembly Standing Committee on Human Rights for setting up National Commission for Human Rights, said Ms. Fauzia Habib, Member, National Assembly Standing Committee on Human Rights and Political Secretary to the President of Pakistan while Mr. I.A. Rehman, General Secretary, Human Rights Commission of Pakistan also supported the recommendations at the Legislative Forum on The National Commission for Human Rights Bill 2008 organised by PILDAT in Islamabad today.

 
 

Ms. Fauzia Habib, MNA, member, National Assembly standing committee on Human Rights/Political Secretary to the President of Pakistan, Mr. I.A. Rehman, General Secretary, Human Rights Commission of Pakistan, Ms. Ayesha Hamid, Advocate High Court analysed the draft Bill of the National Commission for Human Rights at the Forum. The Forum was attended by the Parliamentarians of major political parties, representatives of civil society and a select gathering of media analysts. Many Parliamentarians, members of civil society and members of media actively participated at the Forum.

 
 

“First element in reviewing the Bill is to see its compliance with the UN Resolution and Paris Principles,” Mr. I. A Rehman stressed while analyzing the Bill. “No government in the world could bear any independent Human Rights commission or body, “believed Mr. I.A. Rehman. He stressed that National Human Rights Commission, after establishment, needs regularly consultations with similar type of private bodies for suggestions and different proposals. .Basic human rights should not be compromised even in the extreme cases for instance the basic human rights which are promised in the Constitution of Pakistan cannot be violated for the sake of National Security.

 
 

Ms. Fouzia Habib while speaking on the occasion said that they do realize the human rights situation in Pakistan is not so good and lots of efforts need to be done in this regard. “Improvement in the plight of human rights is one of the concerned areas of our Government,” Ms. Habib emphasised. Pointing out the reasons of low standards of human rights in the country, she said that dictatorship is the main reason for such a fiasco in human rights situation in Pakistan. She assured the participants that all members of the National Assembly standing committee on Human Rights are committed to the independence and freedom of the Commission. “Governments come and go; but institutions remain, so it is the time to strengthen the institutions,” stressed Ms. Habib at the forum. She said that the Bill will be presented in National Assembly for approval during this session or the session after budget.

 
 

Ms. Ayesha Hamid briefed about the important clauses of the National commission for Human Rights Bill 2008. She also suggested few amendments in the Bill to make commission more powerful and effective. Analysing the Bill she suggested that Chairperson or any member should only be removed from his office by order of the President of Pakistan, on the advice of the Prime Minister on the ground of misbehaviour or incapacity after the Supreme Court, on a reference being made to it by the President, has, on inquiry held in accordance with the procedure prescribed in that behalf by the Supreme Court, reported that the Chairperson or the member, as the case may be, ought on any such ground to be removed. She also suggested amendments in the composition of the Commission. She said that in this draft Bill separate human right courts to be set up which will create a separate and parallel judicial system that why this clause should be omitted. She stressed that the commission should be independent according to Paris Principles. She stressed that member of commission should be impartial and representative of society and funding of commission should be from independent sources. Chairperson and member of the commission may be appointed by recommendations of a Committee consisting of the Prime Minister as Chairman, the Speaker of the National Assembly, the Leader of the Opposition in the National Assembly, the Leader of the House in the Senate, Leader of the Opposition in the Senate and the Minister of Human Rights as members.

 
 

Earlier introducing the session Mr. Ahmed Bilal Mehboob, Executive Director PILDAT said that after more than two years now the Bill has been introduced in National Assembly. He wished that after the National Assembly Standing Committee on Human Rights has presented its report on the Bill in the House, the Bill will soon find its passage from the National Assembly as well as the Senate of Pakistan. He said that the purpose of this session is to discuss salient features of Bill with the Parliamentarian, civil society and media so they could get awareness on this subject. He said that discussion and suggestions given in this forum will help improve this Bill.

 
 

In the discussion session, participants also presented many suggestions while a debate on the jurisdiction of the Parliament to pass a Bill for setting up the National Commission for Human Rights was also questioned as some of the participants believed that after the passage of 18th Constitutional Amendment Human Rights has become the provincial subject and Parliament has no right to legislate for setting up the National Commission. Participants urged to investigate the matter whether the provinces need to establish their own Human Rights Commission or the National Human Rights Commission can be established after the 18th amendment.