The Ministry of Human Rights Islamabad in collaboration with the Karakoram International University (KIU) organized a seminar at KIU on April 7, 2016. The collaborating partners from KIU included: the Quality Enhancement Cell (QEC), Department of Media and Communication Studies (DMCS) and the Department of Modern Languages (DML). The seminar was about Human Rights Education and Sensitization whereby presentations were made by representatives from the Ministry of Human Rights and KIU. The seminar began with the recitation of some verses from the Holy Quran. Following is the detail of the proceedings of the seminar:
Objectives of the seminar
Mr. Zufliqar Ali, Director (HR) from the Ministry of Human Rights (MHR) welcomed all the participants and appreciated the efforts of KIU for making the seminar a reality despite the unfavorable situation owing to the heavy rains, floods, and blockages all over GB. He further said that the most important segment of the society with regard to human rights is the youth and that is one of the reasons to hold this seminar at KIU. He also mentioned that it is very much crucial to enhance the understanding of common people about human rights and that is why the MoHR is making efforts to raise awareness and create sensitisation about human rights. He said that this seminar is not an end in itself rather it is a beginning. He further elaborated that such efforts are underway in all other provinces of Pakistan and the idea is to educate people so that there is a better environment for the promotion and protection of human rights.
Mr. Muhammad Arsahd, Director General Ministry of Human Rights delivered the keynote speech and discussed the emerging trends in the field of Human Rights and the role of the government therein. He said that the issue of human right needs to be taken more serious in the contemporary situation and it can be done only through collaboration and cooperation amongst different stakeholders. The government, therefore, needs the cooperation of different institutions and groups to take up the agenda further. He further added that the concept of human rights draws its strength from the international charter of human rights but more importantly, it is inspired by the charter of human rights propounded and practiced by the Holy Prophet Peace be Upon Him. There are four major areas of concern in the realm of human rights and those are equality, discrimination, dignity, and liberty. He urged the students, teachers, and civil society to make a collective action towards the promotion of human rights. He said that the Ministry is making all its level best efforts to create a congenial environment in the whole country with respect to human rights. He was very much appreciative of KIU as an institute of higher learning.
There are four major areas of concern in the realm of human rights and those are equality, discrimination, dignity, and liberty.
( Mr. Muhammad Arshad, Director General (HR) Ministry of Human Rights )
which has the capacity as well as willingness to promote human rights۔ He especially thanked the Acting Vice Chancellor Dr. Arifunnisa Naqvi and collaborating departments for the successful arrangement of the seminar.
Speech by the Acting Vice Chancellor KIU
The Acting Vice Chancellor KIU, Dr. Arifunnisa Naqvi said that the seminar is a timely call by MoHR and KIU given the fact that human rights are one of the major areas of concern in today’s world. She also commended the collaborating departments from KIU for successful arrangements of the seminar. She said that KIU is ready to collaborate for such matters of common interest. She especially thanked MoHr for choosing KIU as a partner and for arranging the program at the campus.
This was the formal session of the seminar whereby speeches were made by four presenters and the panel was moderated by Mr. Zulfiqar Ali, Director (HR), MoHR. He began the session with an overview of the prospects for human rights and the challenges therein. He further added
KIU is always willing to participate in matters of common interest. The seminar is expected to open up new avenues for debate and deliberations related to human rights issues. ( Professor Dr. Arifunnisa Naqvi, Acting VC KIU )
that the topic of human rights is not something new but it is gaining more importance in the emerging situations. He opined that ranging from personal rights to civil rights, political rights, legal rights, economic rights, to social and cultural rights; Human rights is a vast area which encompasses all fields and must be known to all individual irrespective of their fields of specialization.
Another speech was presented by Mr. Muhammad Khalil Awan, Deputy Secretary MoHR and he discussed the national and international obligations related to human rights. He said that Pakistan is the signatory of all the international declarations and protocols related to human rights and it is the responsibility of the state to ensure that those instruments are applied in the country and the rights of all individuals and groups are taken care of. He also shared some insights from his recent visit to Indonesia regarding summit on HR.
The third presentation was made by Mr. Arshad Hussain, Director General (HR), MoHR. He talked about achievements and future actions with regard to Human rights. He said that there are four commissions under the ministry of human rights; working towards their specific goals. Those include National Commission on Human Rights (NCHR), National Commission on Women’s rights (NCWR), National Commission on Children’s rights (NCCR) and the National Commission on Minorities Rights (NCMR). These are but few initiatives amongst the larger program of the ministry towards promotion and protection of human rights in the country. He further added that the ministry has its offices in the provincial capitals as well in order to facilitate the projects and programs related to human rights promotion. Mr. Arshad further added a good news for the student’s interested in human rights as they can join internship programs in the ministry as well as in the provincial offices.
The fourth and final speech was made by Mr. Sultan Ahmed, Assistant Professor and Head Department of Media and Communication Studies KIU. He discussed the role of Media, Academia and Civil Society Networks in the promotion of human rights. He said that in the contemporary world the role of media is gaining prominence in the promotion of human rights. Moreover, the role of academia and civil society networks is also very crucial. He added that there are many challenges especially for the journalists in coverage of reports related to human rights. Those challenges range from a personal capacity to uncongenial environment for real and accurate reporting. This suggests that greater efforts are needed for improved capacities and also governments should keep the journalists free of any pressures so that they are able to report genuine issues that relate to human rights. He suggested that the media, academia, and civil society networks must work together to promote and protect human rights.
Besides the speakers, some students also got an opportunity to speak about the emerging issues related to human rights. They appreciated the efforts made by MoHR and KIU for generating discussion on such important issues. They also shared some of the burning issues of human rights in the context of GB such as political rights.
In her concluding remarks, the Acting Vice Chancellor Prof. Dr. Arifunnisa Naqvi appreciated the efforts of the organizers, participants and especially the speakers for their efforts towards making the program a success. She further added that such productive programs should continue in the future and KIU is always ready to embark on such fruitful programs. She appreciated the team from MoHr for their tireless efforts in the promotion of human rights.
Vote of thanks
Mr. Shahid Ali, DG Coordination, KIU presented vote of thanks on behalf of KIU and appreciated the MoHR for conducting the seminar on such an important topic. He extended his words of thanks to the organizing team from MoHR and KIU, the speakers and the participants as well as the media representatives. At the end of the program, souvenirs were presented to the guests who traveled all the way from Islamabad and made their contributions to conduct the seminar successfully.
More than 200 students of KIU, faculty members, management staff, and media representatives attended the seminar.