Fun­da­men­tal hu­man rights

Pakistan Observer - - OPINION - HASHIM ABRO

Like many hum­ble stu­dents of law and po­lit­i­cal science dur­ing dif­fer­ent as­sign­ments and re­search work, I have tried to eval­u­ate the pub­lic aware­ness and the per­cep­tions re­gard­ing the pro­tec­tion and en­joy­ment of Fun­da­men­tal rights, which are the ba­sic rights of the cit­i­zens, en­shrined and guar­an­teed by the Con­sti­tu­tion of Pak­istan. I have con­cluded that the pub­lic aware­ness about the fun­da­men­tal hu­man rights, vi­o­la­tion or pro­tec­tion of var­i­ous types of rights, and aware­ness and per­cep­tions re­gard­ing hu­man rights in­sti­tu­tions, is at the low­est ebb.

This is why, hu­man rights vi­o­la­tions still abound in Pak­istan. Hu­man rights vi­o­la­tions fre­quently and fla­grantly take place, both, in the ur­ban and ru­ral Pak­istan and that peo­ple of Pak­istan blame the rul­ing elites, bu­reau­crats and tech­nocrats for most of these hu­man rights vi­o­la­tions. De­spite mas­sive me­dia re­port­ing and suo moto no­tices by the Apex Court, there are still sev­eral chal­lenges fac­ing the pro­mo­tion and pro­tec­tion of hu­man rights in Pak­istan.

Ig­no­ran­tia iuris ne­m­inem ex­cusat (ig­no­rance of the law is no ex­cuse) is a fa­mous le­gal maxim, like many oth­ers, I have con­cluded through my in­ter­ac­tion, di­a­logue with a cross sec­tion of ex­perts and my re­search work that a vast ma­jor­ity of peo­ple, even ed­u­ca­tors, teach­ers, academia, in­tel­li­gentsia who are ex­pected to know the law so as to safe­guard them­selves and to pro­tect and en­force their rights, they even don’t know their rights con­tained in the Con­sti­tu­tion of Pak­istan.

Knowl­edge of the law, in par­tic­u­lar, that of hu­man rights, is not only im­por­tant for pro­tec­tion and en­force­ment of rights, but also for peo­ple to have some knowl­edge of the hu­man rights obli­ga­tions im­posed on them by law. There is no doubt that in or­der to en­joy these rights one has to have knowl­edge of these rights. One can­not en­joy or en­force rights that one is not aware of. Ac­cord­ingly, one of the main fac­tors that de­ter­mines the ef­fec­tive en­joy­ment or en­force­ment of hu­man rights in any so­ci­ety is the level of pub­lic aware­ness of such rights and of the mech­a­nisms and in­sti­tu­tions through which they are en­forced.

The rel­e­vant pub­lic sec­tor and pri­vate sec­tor or­ga­ni­za­tions namely Na­tional Com­mis­sion for Hu­man Rights, Na­tional Com­mis­sion on the Sta­tus of Women, Om­buds­man Of­fices, ed­u­ca­tional in­sti­tu­tions, law col­leges, re­tired judges, law of­fi­cers, at­tor­neys, NGOs, le­gal and hu­man rights as­so­ci­a­tions, among oth­ers, must come for­ward, in­stead of Pow­erPoint pre­sen­ta­tions in the lux­ury ho­tels, and teach fun­da­men­tal hu­man rights to the peo­ple of Pak­istan so as to cre­ate a law-lit­er­ate so­ci­ety in the coun­try. —Is­lam­abad

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