Human Rights Commission of Pakistan
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The Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (Urdu: تنظیم حقوق انسانی پاکستان), or HRCP, is an independent, non-profit organisation, founded in 1987, which is not associated or affiliated with the government or any political party. It is committed to act with impartiality and objectivity in all matters. Among its main aims are spreading awareness of human rights among the people, mobilising public opinion, collecting information and disseminating knowledge about human rights abuses, and to monitor and defend human rights in Pakistan.
Criticism of the organisation
The organization is named as a Human Rights Commission of Pakistan while it's a non-governmental organization. The name thus creates confusion about its status and mandate. The organisation has also been criticised at times for being highly politicised. The HRCP issued a report saying that the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf's (PTI's) sit-in was "distracting" attention from human rights abuse, while the PTI fired back saying that the HRCP should be defending the fundamental democratic right to free assembly. The head of the HRCP, Asma Jehangir, is renowned for an intense political disagreement with PTI's Imran Khan and frequently appears on pro-government TV outlets such as Geo criticising Imran for being part of a conspiracy to "derail democracy" by organising sit-ins against electoral rigging. The PTI has subsequently accused the HRCP of criticising its peaceful sit-ins due to political bias.
It describes its aims as:
- to work for the ratification and implementation by Pakistan of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and of other related Charters, Covenants, Protocols, Resolutions, Recommendations and internationally adopted norms;
- to promote studies in the field of human rights and mobilise public opinion in favour of accepted norms through all available media and forums, and to carry out every category of activity to further the cause;
- to cooperate with and aid national and international groups, organisations and individuals engaged in the promotion of human rights and to participate in meetings and congresses on human rights at home and abroad;
- to take appropriate action to prevent violations of human rights and to provide legal aid and other assistance to victims of those violations and to individuals and groups striving to protect human rights.
Among issues it has covered are women's rights, including gender equality, violence against women, domestic violence, Hudood Ordinance, honour killing, abolition of capital punishment, LGBT rights, restrictions on press freedom, freedom of speech, freedom of religion, freedom of movement, police brutality, and religiously-inspired violence. The commission is a member organisation of the Asian Forum for Human Rights and Development (FORUM-ASIA).
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