Nether­lands con­trib­utes $3.6m to im­prove hu­man rights

The Pak Banker - - Front Page -

IS­LAM­ABAD

The Nether­lands gov­ern­ment has pro­vided dol­lars 3.6 mil­lion to sup­port the pro­tec­tion and pro­mo­tion of hu­man rights in Pak­istan. The Dutch Am­bas­sador to Pak­istan Ga­jus Schel­tema and Coun­try Rep­re­sen­ta­tive of 'The Asia Foun­da­tion' Gareth Aicken signed the agree­ment here on Tues­day at a sim­ple cer­e­mony held at the of­fice of the Asia Foun­da­tion.

It is the third Hu­man Right Fund be­ing sup­ported by the Nether­lands gov­ern­ment and its a fol­low up to the pre­vi­ous two ear­lier hu­man rights pro­grammes.

Ad­dress­ing on this oc­ca­sion the Dutch Am­bas­sador to Pak­istan Ga­jus Schel­tema com­mended the ef­forts of the gov­ern­ment of Pak­istan and many non-gov­ern­ment or­ga­ni­za­tions in im­prov­ing the hu­man rights sit­u­a­tion. He said that Pak­istan has made a num­ber of sig­nif­i­cant com­mit­ments to in­ter­na­tional hu­man rights stan­dards. The Dutch am­bas­sador said, "In­spite of these com­mit­ments, there are still sig­nif­i­cant le­gal and prac­ti­cal lim­i­ta­tions on the abil­ity of mi­nori­ties, in par­tic­u­lar to ex­er­cise to their rights." He also re­ferred to the pub­lished civil so­ci­ety state­ment in re­sponse to the of­fi­cial re­port on hu­man rights re­cently sub­mit­ted to the UN Hu­man Rights Coun­cil in Geneva adding that this state­ment called for a stronger po­lit­i­cal com­mit­ment by the Pak­istan state for the pro­tec­tion of hu­man rights and for mea­sur­able ac­tion plan to ad­dress the ex­ist­ing gaps in leg­is­la­tion and law en­force­ment in the coun­try. He said the hu­man rights fund III could be a tool to sup­port all stake­hold­ers in ad­dress­ing these gaps in a col­lab­o­ra­tive and con­struc­tive man­ner. The Dutch am­bas­sador said there is need to pro­tect the rights of mi­nori­ties es­pe­cially re­lat­ing to re­li­gion as there are many in­ci­dents of at­tack on mi­nori­ties.

He said, "There is need to speed up con­crete ef­forts and mea­sures to check the reli­gious base vi­o­la­tions of hu­man rights." Re­fer­ring to the inci- dent of at­tack on Malala Yousafzai in Swat, he said, there is need to take pre­cau­tion­ary mea­sures by the civil so­ci­ety to check such in­ci­dents.

The Coun­try Rep­re­sen­ta­tive of the Asia Foun­da­tion Gareth Aicken speak­ing on the oc­ca­sion praised the ded­i­ca­tion of the Nether­lands to hu­man rights pro­tec­tion in Pak­istan through dif­fer­ent projects. He com­mended the Min­istry of Hu­man Rights and es­pe­cially the ef­forts of the Ad­vi­sor to Prime Min­is­ter on Hu­man Rights for his sub­stan­tial achieve­ments, par­tic­u­larly in terms of re­cent leg­is­la­tion at fed­eral level.

He em­pha­sized the col­lab­o­ra­tive na­ture of the sup­port of fund which will work closely with gov­ern­ment and civil so­ci­ety part­ners in cre­at­ing an early warn­ing sys­tem to pre­vent hu­man rights vi­o­la­tions in ten dis­tricts in Pak­istan.

He hoped that the fund would help re­duce the in­ci­dence of vi­o­la­tions and serve as a model for a more ex­ten­sive hu­man rights pro­gramme in due course.

Gareth Aicken hoped that the fi­nan­cial as­sis­tance from

Nether­lands gov­ern­ment would help re­duce the in­ci­dence of vi­o­la­tions and serve as a model for a more ex­ten­sive hu­man rights pro­gramme in due course.

He said ini­tially ten dis­tricts from all over the coun­try have been se­lected for start­ing the project where spe­cial cen­ters would be es­tab­lished to cre­ate aware­ness about hu­man rights and pro­vide free le­gal aid in this re­gard.

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