Published in Pakistan Observer (21 Dec. 2010)
ISLAMABAD: Islam offers the best solution for all human rights issues. This consensus emerged at the 10th Annual National Human Rights Conference held in Islamabad on Monday.
Around 300 participants from government, civil society and media organizations attended the conference which was organized by International Human Rights Observer (IHRO), working in collaboration with United Nations.
The messages of President Asif Ali Zardari, Prime Minister, Yusuf Raza Gilani and U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on international human rights day were read on the occasion.
President Asif Ali Zardari’s message noted “Our faith Islam also teaches us deep respect for rights of all human beings and upholds the eternal values of” equal rights, justice and peace.”
Whereas the Prime Minister Gilani’s message recalled “Human Rights as mentioned in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights have emanated from the basic principles of Islam, enshrined in the last address of Holy Prophet (p.b.u.h.)” He further stated “the holy month of Muharram, a landmark in the history of Islam highlights the importance of sacrifice for a noble cause.”
Dr. Khalid Sulehri, President of IHRO in his welcome address said “Khutba-e-hujja tul Wida, the last address of Holy Prophet (p.b.u.h.) is the basic charter of human rights.”
Shafique Chaudhry , Director of Parliamentarian Commission for Human Rights believed that Islam provides equal rights to all human beings. He observed that it was not only the duty government to defend human rights “but each one of us is human rights defenders.”
The role of United Nations also came under discussion in the conference. Syed Zafar Ali of PNL-N was of the view that instead of resolving issues, “United Nations and Security Council are discriminating people in the name of human rights.” While other speakers strongly criticized the violation of human rights through drone attacks in Pakistan and the indifferent stance of United Nations towards the violation of human rights.
The theme of this year’s conference was “Human Rights Defenders to act to end discrimination. Human rights are the foundation of freedom, peace and justice and the people who fights for their own and other’s rights are called human right defenders.
Chief Guest, Farzana Raja (MNA) Chairperson of the Benazir Income Support Programme said “discrimination at any level increases disparity.” She believed that human rights defenders who combat against discrimination take us towards democracy, peace and brotherhood. “True freedom fighters are the representatives of the common man” and Pakistanis fighting two wars, terror and poverty side by side, she added.
Chair of the conference, Syed Mumtaz Alam Gilani, Federal Minister for Human Rights highlighted the role of government to guard human rights in the country.
“Instead of discriminating people and pointing differences, we should bridge people and communities of the world” urged Prof. Ibrahim Khan, Jamat-e-Islami Parliamentarian. He also stressed that on the basis of the true teaching of Islam, we can achieve the goals of peace and equality all over the world.
Haji Adeel of ANP highlighted that democracy and equal rights work hand in hand hence all agencies should work in collaboration to achieve the goal of equality.
Dr. Ghazanfar Mehdi, Chairman of Imamiya Council said “the safeguard of human rights is the foremost message of Islam” but it is unfortunate to note that the Muslims have failed to carry the message of peace and tolerance throughout the world..
MQM Senator, Tahir Husain Mashhadi believed that the right to education was the basic right which should be provided to all citizens on equal basis. He also stressed on one standardized system of education for rich and poor equally.
Towards the end of the ceremony awards were distributed among 25 human rights defenders in Pakistan.