Number of Downlaods: 14
Published Date: Feb 2, 1994
Ahmed Afzal, SDPI
Beyond a Narrowly Defined Sectoral Approach
The human rights agenda in Pakistan is presently based on the assumption that all sectors requiring human rights protection, vis-a-vis their vulnerability to human rights violation, have been pre-determined and processes for their defence established. Pre-dominant in the groups and communities included in human rights advocacy are women, children and religious and ethnic minorities. Further, the framework of protection required by these communities has often been defined by individuals and policy makers who have no or relatively little at stake as far as their own vulnerability to human rights abuse is concerned. The present human rights agenda also assumes that the government is the sole agent that can provide protection and enable processes such as legislation, public interest litigation and legal institutions to be effective. Thus the processes available reflect a focus primarily on public sector agencies to respond to specific human rights violation and abuse.
The present approach to human rights defence and protection in Pakistan is at once, both narrowly defined sectorally and limited by the absence of processes that can protect against specific human rights violations. Without the inclusion of the diverse needs of specific sectors and utilization of processes for their defence and protection, this limited approach has reduced the effectiveness and efficiency of human rights advocacy. Specifically, two perspectives are crucial in outlining an integrative approach to human rights support and defence in Pakistan; first, identification of sectors vulnerable to human rights violation, and second, development of processes including amendment of existing legislation, and forums such as public interest litigation to maximize this protection and defence. Within this framework, it is important to realize the specific needs of each sector and how the processes can be utilized most effectively.