Rights activists demand proper implementation of human rights recommendations under UPR

KARACHI: Human rights, labour rights and civil society activists on Monday underlined the need to implement all recommendations by Human Rights Council under the previous three Universal Periodic Reviews (UPRs).

Civil society should also play its role in creating awareness about the Pakistani government’s commitment to upholding human rights. The rights activists were speaking at A Zoom meeting pertaining to Pakistan’s UPR in Geneva on Monday. Zoom consultation was organized by The Knowledge Forum, a think tank.

Pakistan had received 298 recommendations after the 3rd UPR, out of which Pakistan accept 168 recommendations, said Mohammad Rafiq, a human rights expert. According to him, Pakistan has ratified many UN conventions and covenants but no policy or legislation was put in place. Member of Sindh Human Rights Commission Zulfiqar Shah said after 4th review Pakistan will receive more recommendations.

A researcher and author of a paper on UPR by Najamuddin said Pakistan has received 21 labour-related UPR recommendations in nearly 15 years According to him these recommendations include critical areas such as occupational safety and health, freedom of association, collective bargaining, minimum wage and social security, among other.

The report stresses that Pakistan’s civil society taking interest in the mechanism only on the day the UPR Working Group of the Human Rights Council takes up the country’s review would not suffice and sustained engagement with the process is called for. According to him, many civil society organizations lacked sufficient familiarity with the mechanism to make it count.

He underlined the need that trade unions and labour support groups that are better acquainted with the UPR and make imaginative use of the mechanisms along, including through strategic collaboration, which can go a long way in strengthening the demand for a better deal for Pakistan’s workers.