SHARP-PAKISTAN regularly organizes sensitization and awareness raising trainings workshops for Judiciary, Law enforcement agencies (Police and FIA officials), Public Prosecutors, Lawyers, CSOs, Media and law students on diverse topics; through this initiative SHARP-Pakistan has capacitated over “11 Thousand” officials on human and refugee rights, human trafficking and smuggling in context of national and international laws, conventions and commitments. The purpose of these trainings is to provide officials with different knowledge and skills and make the conscientious for ensuring rights to individuals and build peaceful society in which they live happy and dignified life. In order to sensitize Police officials, UNHCR and SHARP team organized one day training workshop on “Human and refugee rights in Pakistan including AJ&K”.
Mr. Syed Khalid Hamdani DPO, Attock was invited as Chief Guest but due to his last minute commitment he nominated Mr. Azhar Shabir DSP, who attended the training as Chief Guest.
Speakers of the Training:
- Mr. Mudassar Javed (Project Director SHARP), for session on Human Rights.
- Ms. Ghazala Mirza (Assistant Protection Officer), UNHCR, for the session on Refugee rights in Pakistan and AJ&K
Objectives of the Workshop:
- Main objective was to build the bilateral relations among refugees and Police officials, by enlightening the mandate of SHARP/UNHCR.
- To update them regarding legal stay of Afghan refugees in Pakistan and AJ&K.
- To enhance their knowledge about Refugee rights, through above mentioned sessions.
Opening session of Training, Welcome and Introduction of SHARP:
Mr. Taufiq Ahmad commenced the session by welcoming all the participants, guests, speakers and colleagues. He proceeded by briefly introducing Society for Human Rights and Prisoners’ Aid (SHARP) as a non-government and non-profit organization which is working for vulnerable communities and refugees in Sindh, Punjab and KPK including AJ&K and Head office in Islamabad. SHARP-Pakistan. He gave detail about the its historical background and its association with UNHCR for the past 21 years. He further explained the mandate that SHARP follows being the implementing partner of the UNHCR and all the legal intricacies that come along with it. He elaborated the specific role that ALAC plays in facilitating the refugees in the form of legal assistance, counseling and legal aid. He further spoke about ALAC’s relevance with the police department and the police training in particular.
Session on “Human Rights” by Mr. Mudassar Javed:
Mr. Mudassar Javed welcomed all the attendees at the training and expressed his gratitude to DSP for thorough cooperation and for nominating the participants. His session was exclusively on human rights, its importance and its various types. Importantly it was focused on developing an understanding in the police community on human rights relevance in modern age and the contemporary issues and violations attached to it. He explained the basic idea of human rights and went on explaining its modern form and shape by plunging into its history and connecting it to the modern day documentation. He reiterated that he police has an efficient and lubricating role in the protection of human rights. Their main duty above all is the role of the police officials in preventing the violations of human rights irrespective of sex, gender, nationality, language, religion, ethnicity, caste and creed of the individual.
He explained to the listeners that human rights are the basic rights and freedoms that belong to every person in the world, from birth to death irrespective and are attributed to person by virtue of his/ her being a human. He also explained that State has primary responsibility for the protection of fundamental rights defined in the Constitution, e.g. right to life, freedom of expression, freedom of religion, equality before law, Protection against Sufferings, injustice, violence, inequality, abuse of power, corruption and wars which is most probably the outcome of violation of rights and duties. Similarly other stakeholders like judiciary, media, NGO’s, international community and police are also equally responsible.
He stated that Human rights are those fundamental rights which are divine and protected by the law of the land. He further explained that fundamental rights of every person are also protected in the constitution of Pakistan 1973.
His session was very comprehensive, highly informative and very interactive. The officials were very communicative and took keen interest. Different queries were raised by the officials and the dame were answered to their full satisfaction by the speaker.
Presentation on “Refugees Rights” by Ms. Ghazala Mirza:
Ms. Ghazala Mirza, after introducing herself, introduced United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and its mandate in Pakistan.
Ms. Ghazala extensively explained the mandate of UNHCR by saying that safe repatriation, integration and Resettlement are their prime concerns. Before furthering on the individual subjects she briefly defined the term ‘Refugee’ under Article 1 (A) of 1951, Refugee Convention.
She emphasized that the all the agencies and law enforcement officials need to understand the status of refugees as their rights and obligations in the state of Pakistan as there is now specific law regarding the refugees which leads to violation of their right on different levels. She explained the 1951’s Geneva convention and 1967’s protocol to further explain the status of refugees and said that these are the most detail instruments which have been adopted to date on a universal level to safeguard the fundamental rights of refugees and to regulate their status in countries of asylum. She reiterated that the same has been protected in the 1973 constitution where it openly speaks about the fundamental rights of all individuals. Moreover, she also focused the listener’s attention to International Refugee Law, International Human Rights Law, International Humanitarian Law and National Laws which provides the legal frame work to protect the refugees. In Pakistan and AJ&K the ad-hoc administrative arrangements and Foreigners Act, 1946 regulates the entry, stay and departures of foreigners in Pakistan and AJ&K.
She mentioned that mandate of UNHCR is to provide protection to refugees and find out durable solution to their problems as well as explained the “Principle of Non-Refoulment” U/A 33 of 1951 Refugee Convention and briefed that registered Afghans can stay in Pakistan till 30th June, 2020. He also explained the procedure of verification of card by sending card number to “7000”.
Ms. Ghazala briefed the Police officials on the new and current developments of UNHCR’s with respect to The Documentation Renewal and Information Verification Exercise (hereinafter ‘DRIVE’). She spoke about the time duration, the procedure and the centers across Pakistan. The basic purpose was to disseminate the information of the renewal of the PoR cards among the officials and to inform them that until the new cards’ distribution is not finalized the old (expired) card will run legal. She shared that the new smart cards will be valid till 2023. The pictures of the cards were visually displayed for the officer’s convenience.
Ms, Ghazala’s session was an information boost for the police officials on all matters related to the Refugees. They shared their experiences with the refugees and asked all the important and relevant questions.
Closing Remarks by Mr. Azhar Shabir DSP, Attock:
Mr. Azhar Shabir expressed his gratitude towards UNHCR and SHARP Organizations for arranging such an informative one Day Training Workshop on Human and Refugees rights for the Police officials. He also thanked all the Police officers for taking out time in their busy schedules for the workshop. He praised the efforts made by both the organizations in doing their parts for securing the human rights and ensuring that the refugees are properly protected. Lastly, he promised future cooperation and thanked everyone again.
Vote of Thanks:
Ms. Sama Tariq extended special thanks to Mr. Azhar Shabir, DSP and to all the participants and supporting staff for making the event possible and a success. She further requested the participants to keep in consideration the refugee’s rights and treat them without any discrimination. She acknowledged the sacrifices of police while performing their duties; although police department is deprived by the authorities in many aspects yet their performance is remarkable.
Distribution of Certificates and souvenirs:
On the closing of training workshop, Mr. Azhar Shabir, DSP Ms. Ghazala Mirza, Assistant Protection Officer and Mr. Mudassar Javed PD SHARP distributed the certificates among the attendees. Mr. Mudassar Javed and Ms. Ghazala Mirza also presented souvenirs to the Chief Guest, Mr. Azhar Shabir, DSP Attock and Dr. Amara Sheerazi, SP.
Generally stimulating response was being observed through Evaluation forms yet there are various recommendations from the attendees;
- Workshop time duration should be increased.
- Extensive statistics and figures should be added.
- Handbooks / Material relating to workshop should be provided to participants in printed form.
- They also requested more interactive sessions.
- To conduct these sessions more frequently to raise awareness.
- Advance level courses should also be included.