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Mazari criticises selective use of HRs diplomacy

Mazari criticises selective use of HRs diplomacy

Islamabad : Federal Minister of Human Rights Shireen Mazari on Monday criticised the selective use of Human Rights diplomacy and country specific approach of world community while addressing human rights violations in different parts of the world.

The minister said that those who propagated for human rights have not lived up to their commitment especially in the case of Kashmir issue where 8 million people are living their lives under the one of the worst blockade for past 126 days.

She was addressing a panel discussion on ‘Human Rights Diplomacy’ organised by Ministry of Human Rights. Federal Minister spoke about the need to move beyond a traditional approach to human rights diplomacy that focuses narrowly on inter-state relations. “Countries have voluntarily eroded their sovereignty by becoming party to International conventions and agreements,” she added.

She stressed for thematic approach towards human rights diplomacy as opposed to country specific approach. “If we develop thematic approach, we will become a step closer to overcoming selective human rights diplomacy or what I would term as human rights hypocrisy which prevails in so many parts of the world,” she said.

She also criticized Ministry of Foreign Affairs for not following up effectively on the ground-breaking narrative of Prime Minister Imran Khan on Kashmir presented in the United Nations. She urged the MoFA to change the approaches and structures as per the changing diplomatic needs.

She also talked about the international conventions signed by Pakistan like the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD); the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR); and the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR). “It is becoming increasingly incumbent to account for various international organizations and forums in terms of human rights diplomacy.”

The Minister also highlighted that the changing human rights paradigm warrants accounting for non-state actors such as the civil society, business community and corporations, which are important stakeholders in terms of human rights diplomacy. She emphasized the work that the Ministry of Human Rights is already doing in this regard in terms of drafting procedures for an action plan on business and human rights in Pakistan.

She said that the Ministry of Human Rights has raised the issue of occupied Kashmir at several international forums and has approached 18 Human Rights Special Mandate Holders to take urgent action against the gross human rights atrocities in Occupied Kashmir. This includes an urgent request to United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affair (UNOCHA) to establish a humanitarian corridor for the flow of relief and aid services into IOJK. “In the future we are considering seeking an advisory opinion from the International Court of Justice on this human rights crisis.”

Chief Guest of the event Federal Minister for Planning and special initiatives Asad Umar addressed the audience and said that morality should be part of decision-making processes. He also emphasized that Human rights should be central pillar of Pakistan’s foreign relations. Pakistan should strive towards using international forums more effectively with this imperative.

Ingrid Johnsoson, Swedish Ambassador to Pakistan was also part of the panel discussion. She spoke about feminist foreign Policy in Sweden which could serve as an example to promote and support gender equality.

Aizaz Ahmad Chaudhary, Director General of Insitute of Strategic Studies also mentioned that traditional ways of diplomacy have been changed now. He said that the term human rights can be used in positive and negative manner. The selective use of term is used to appreciate or bash countries.

The Secretary of Ministry of Human Rights Rabiya Javeri Agha while moderating the panel discussion mentioned that Human rights Diplomacy is the skill of dealing with people and managing international relations through the lens of a human rights perspective.

She further said Human Rights Diplomacy is steeped in our culture and religion. “Our Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) talked about equality, rule of law, rights of women and the protection of property. The Ministry of Human Rights is mandated to address all such human rights concerns both domestically and globally.”

The aim of the panel discussion was to create awareness among people on the importance of modern ideas of diplomacy in human rights. The audience included representatives of the government, diplomatic community, academia and media.

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