SHARP (Society for Human Rights and Prisoners Aid) continues its efforts to promote the concept of Human Rights through advocacy, strengthening the institution, protecting the rights of the people particularly women and children, welfare of prisoners, struggling for refugee rights and legal reforms. SHARP/ALAC II since its establishment in Lahore has adopted an integrated approach for progress and empowerment that combines capacity building, networking and advocacy for rights and peace in society. This is based on community mobilization for basic rights and for sensitization of civil and police officials. For that very purpose team time to time arranges training and seminars for the capacity building of different stakeholders. These activities remained very positive not only for propagation of ALAC mandate but also for the promotion of the SHARP.
In the current human rights Scenario, SHARP felt the strong need to conduct such a workshop for the Police officials in the city sensitizing them to take cognizance to the violations committed against Human Rights in the country, because police officers are the protection officers of Human Rights. The main objective of the workshop was to strengthen the bilateral relations with Police officials and ALAC and to enlighten the main objectives of SHARP/ALAC/UNHCR and to update the Police officials about the latest notification regarding status of Afghan Refugees in Pakistan, and applicability of 14 Foreigners Act, because mass arrest of registered Afghan nationals under 14 Foreigners Act 1946 is a burning issue.
In this regard, on 30th March 2019, SHARP/ALAC II team organized a very successful one day training workshop for the police officials at DPO office Kasur, on the topic of “Human & Refugee Rights in the Light of Relevant Laws and Notifications”, aiming to highlight the current status of Human Rights & Afghan Status in Pakistan.
Registration of the Participants
The workshop started with the registration of the Participants. All participants were given a form which included their details regarding their name, designation; address with their contacts numbers and most importantly their remarks about the workshop.
Recitation of the Holy Quran
Mr. Yasir started with the name of Mighty ALLAH and recited the Holy verses of the Holy Quran.
Mr. Ali Usman But (Lawyer ALAC II) performed his services as a stage secretary. He formally welcomed the honorable guests and the participants. Mr. Ali also highlighted the main objective of arranging this training workshop.
WELCOME ADDRESS BY MR. HAMID LATIF
In his welcome speech, he said that Police officials are supposed to be well equipped with national and international instruments of human rights for effective protection of the victims of Human rights. He said that no step has been taken to educate the masses about the importance of these conventions, its need and impact on our society and identification of redressed forums. He said that the government has no commitment towards human rights and only media is confronting the government on this important human rights issue. It is the responsibility of the Police Officials and the civil society to join hands with media to expose these elements to make sure transparency, true democracy and protection of human rights.
INTRODUCTION BY MS. IMRANA HASHAM
Ms. Imrana welcomed the participants with the introduction of Society for Human Rights and Prisoners Aid (SHARP) and briefly described its projects and interventions.
AN INFORMATIVE PRESENTATION ON HUMAN RIGHTS BY MR. MUDASSIR JAVED PROJECT DIRECTOR SHARP
Mr. Mudassar gave a detailed description on Human Rights and its violation. He elaborated that the basic concept of rights, i-e the right must be regarded as a claim and not a need, as a claim it has to counter balance of obligation and these two coherent perspectives supplement each other, these two elements cannot be separated from the society.
He presented a comprehensive Slide on Basic Human Rights, and shared a brief list of the rights mentioned in the International Bill of Rights including the issues like freedom from torture or cruelty, inhumane or degrading treatment or punishment; equality before the law, freedom from arbitrary arrest, detention or exile, freedom of opinion, expression, peaceful assembly and association, an adequate standard of living, measures to protect the rights of children, and the enjoyment of the highest attainable standards of physical and mental health.
Mr. Mudassar proceeded with the new dimensions added to the UDHR from time to time as different countries had their own reservations regarding UDHR and they , therefore, had accepted and signed the declaration partially; the discussions about such controversies went on and finally in 1690s two protocols came up in order to supplement the previous declaration and therefore, today , the promotion of human rights is guided by what is referred to as the International Bill of Rights; it includes the UDHR and those two treaties, the international Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) and the International Covenant on Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights ( ICESCR).
PRESENTATION ON REFUGEES RIGHTS & UNHCR MANDATE BY MR. WASEEM REHMAN PROTECTION OFFICER UNHCR
Mr. Waseem gave a presentation on the topic of “Refugee Rights International protection and the Legal Status of Afghans in Pakistan “. He elaborated the Mandate of UNHCR/SHARP, definition of Refugees and their rights, International Protection, 1951 Convention, 1967 Protocol, Role of UNHCR in protecting the refugees and Due process of law.
He highlighted the role played by the Government of Pakistan and people to protect Afghan nationals in Pakistan. He also explained the process of asylum as well as the role and responsibilities of asylum seekers in the country of asylum.
While talking about the status of current status of Afghan refugees, Mr. Waseem said they are legal migrants in Pakistan and Government of Pakistan has registered them and issued them POR (Proof of Registration) cards. He told to the police officials about the validity of the PoR Card which is extended up to 30thJune 2019 by the government of Pakistan under a tripartite agreement signed by the Government of Pakistan, UNHCR and Government of Afghanistan. He also shared all notifications about the refugee status and their POR cards issued to them by the Government of Pakistan and UNHCR. He also discussed the status of Non-PoR card holders and the role of Government of Pakistan towards this category.
Address by Chief Guest Dr. Shahzad Asif DPO Kasur
Mr. Shahzad Asif DPO Kasur graced the closing session of the workshop as Chief Guest. He diligently observed the entire workshop, appreciated, and congratulated the SHARP for arranging such a wonderful awareness session for the Police officials. He shared his personal experience and briefed that such intellectual programs should be promoted for the progress of the entire society. He said that this is the responsibility of all stakeholders of the society to work together for the betterment and uplift of the vulnerable segments of the country. He said that no one is ready to stand up for his own rights or for rights of other people. Anyone who passes by a situation where someone else’s rights are being violated and that person is very well observing the entire scene, does not make an effort of raising voice or does not even make an effort of helping the other person. He further briefed that these workshops must be conducted not only to give awareness to the common person but also to inform officials about their basic rights.
AWARD CEREMONY AND CERTIFICATE DISTRIBUTION
SHARP presented certificates to participants who certified their attendance to the workshop hosted by SHARP and approved by UNHCR. These certificates not only indicate their participation but also the fact that they have acquired valuable knowledge and are up to date with human rights and the situation of refugees in Pakistan and on an international level.
Mr. Mudassar Project Manager SHARP presented shield as an honour to Mr. Asif Shahzad DPO Kasur.
Police officials were individually invited on stage and handed certificates by Mr. Asif Shahzad DPO Kasur. Participants collectively expressed their gratitude to SHARP for facilitating them with such an interesting workshop, from which they received valuable knowledge and are up to date with human rights and the situation of refugees in Pakistan and on an International level.