Fundamental human rights
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