To strengthen the protection, promotion and enforcement of human rights, the Balochistan government will develop its first human rights policy. Image Credit: Twitter

Islamabad: In order to strengthen, protect, promote and enforce human rights in Pakistan’s largest but most neglected province Balochistan, the provincial government with the support of the European Union (EU)-funded Huqooq-e-Pakistan project (HeP) is all set to develop its first human rights (HR) policy.

While participating in a briefing at the Governor’s House, Quetta the provincial government officials and the EU representatives shared details of the proposed move and held it was going to be a big step towards realization of first human rights policy through a ‘province-led’ process.

Stakeholders consulted

HeP’s Policy expert Barrister Salman Afridi while speaking on the occasion said, Balochistan government institutions, in collaboration with HeP Project, would consult with all provincial stakeholders to develop the policy to build legislative and policy initiatives already undertaken by the provincial government and expand the scope and scale of future endeavours.

To be formulated under the guidance of the Social Welfare and Human Rights Department, this policy aims at mainstreaming human rights standards throughout the administrative and government structures at the provincial level,” said Salman Afridi.

Government supports project

Balochistan Governor Amanullah Khan Yasinzai while speaking on the occasion welcomed the commencement of activities in the province by the European Union funded Promotion of Human Rights in Pakistan (Huqooq-e-Pakistan) project.

The governor assured his support to the initiative and held the provincial government was already taking a number of measures in that direction.

Governor Yasinzai appreciated the support of HeP project and expressed hope that the collaboration and support will continue in future.

He emphasized on replicating not just international best practices but also the best practices developed nationally and regionally keeping in mind the needs and sensitivities of the local people.

He urged HeP to look at Model Prison developed in Quetta and suggested replication of the same through training across the province.

“It is the responsibility of the state to protect the rights of citizens and both the federal government and the Balochistan provincial government are committed to doing so,” he added.

Youth supported projects

Ali Dayan Hasan HeP project expert said the project would also undertake several other initiatives in Balochistan to strengthen human rights protection mechanisms.

Explaining a few initiatives, Hasan said the project was supporting deployment of young experts from the province in the Social Welfare and Human Rights Department to bridge human-resource gaps in successfully carrying out its mandate.

“Besides that, several trainings will be organized under this initiative on Pakistan’s international human rights obligations, human rights documentation, data collection and enhancement of IT skills,” said Hasan, adding that the project would also be working on developing human rights knowledge base of the Balochistan human rights related departments through the provision of e-journals, e-databases and publications.

He said another major activity would be the formulation of guidelines for cooperation and collaboration between provincial Human Rights Departments and the Federal Ministry of Human Rights.