Netherlands contributes $3.6m to improve human rights
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.