Pakistan Conference on Human Rights and Human Dignity

On 20 April 2000 the first ever Pakistan Conference on Human Rights and Human Dignity was held in Islamabad. It was inaugurated by the President with participation of about 600 stakeholders including ministers, Government officials, civil society representatives and national and international donor agencies. Mr. Naeem Sarfraz, Chairman Fazaldad Human Rights Institute Islamabad is one of the Convener of the Convention. At the Convention in-depth discussions led to a categorical conclusion that human rights can be strengthened and abuse curtailed through widespread education and awareness.

It was decided that human rights education should be introduced in the curriculum of the schools and taught compulsorily up to high school. Once this need was identified, it has now become formal Government policy and the curriculum from Class 1 to Class 10 has been revised to include human rights education.

However, there are very few trained teachers to teach the subject. Without trained teachers the entire concept can collapse. Consequently, the need for teachers training is a priority. Simultaneously, those organs of society responsible for dealing with public issues also need to be made aware of human rights and their responsibility to society. They include judges, police officers, bureaucrats, elected local officials and other administrators. To all of them protecting the rights of women and children has to be emphasized as the highest priority and mechanisms created to assist women and children in distress.

Simultaneously, the integral part of this education program must include education relating to strengthening democracy as democracy and human rights inevitably co-exist.