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Thursday, July 16, 2009

Pakistan Convention on Human Rights and Human Dignity. (2000-3)

The recent report of the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan for the year 1999 makes for very depressing reading. It confirms the well-known fact that during the last 10 years of democratic government in Pakistan, instead making the substantial improvements widely expected with the restoration of democracy after a decade of military rule, there has been continued deterioration in the country\'s human rights record.

The present military government has taken a highly unusual initiative to help rectify the situation. For the first time in the country\'s history a national convention is being held on the subject of human rights awareness and education. This is clearly the need of the hour. It appears quite unbelievable that there has never been any formal teaching of human rights in the entire education system of the country in the last 52 years of its history. Unless there is widespread awareness of the subject in the country, it is naive to expect any improvement in human rights abuse in the future.

There is the need to introduce the subject in the formal education system of the country, at various levels. To enable teachers to teach the subject in schools and colleges, they themselves have to first be taught through a comprehensive Teachers Training Program. On both these issues the Fazaldad Human Rights Institute has started work already. The measures being taken will surely have positive and very welcome results in the years ahead. But it is equally important, if indeed not more so, to do something about it immediately. The government and the Fazaldad Institute are both equally convinced that the entire population of the country today has to be reached and made aware of human rights and human dignity so that a better citizenry emerges in the land. To achieve this there is an urgent need for a mass awareness program as well.


During the convention it is intended to develop a comprehensive mass awareness program which will be launched on the very day of the Inaugural (21 at April) by the Chief Executive and will continue with full intensity till 31St December, 2000.
The media intended to be availed for the campaign will include, but not be limited to, the following:
Print Media

Street Theatre

Pakistan Post

The subjects that are likely to be covered in the mass media campaign will include spots on TV and radio, interviews of prominent persons and of victims; Group discussions; dramas; and theme song or songs & Postage stamps.

On the subject of education it is intended during the convention to study two aspects in detail:
1.Curriculum. It is intended to make suggestions on amendments to the curriculum of the education system at appropriate levels to cover the teaching of human rights and human dignity. This will also require developing appropriate textbooks and other learning materials.
2.Teachers Training. As the subject has never before been taught in the educational institutions of the country, our teachers themselves have very limited knowledge on which they can base their teaching of the subject in schools and colleges. It is therefore imperative to develop and implement an effective program for the training of teachers as rapidly as possible. Courtesy: Chairman, Fazal Dad Human Rights Institute.

To Commemorate the occasion Pakistan Post Office is issuing a commemorative Postage stamp of Rs. 2/- denomination on April 21, 2000.