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Seminar calls for collaborative approach to abolish torture

Pakistan on 04 November 2013
Location : Islamabad, Pakistan | Source : Daily Times.

ISLAMABAD: Participants of a seminar on Friday called for a collaborative approach to abolish torture in the country, especially for upholding dignity and human rights.

They highlighted the importance of implementing international commitments made for improving human rights standards in Pakistan at a seminar organised by Rozan in collaboration with Oxfam GB with the theme ‘Prevalence of Torture in Pakistan, Our International Commitments and Role of Media’. Speakers comprising the civil society activists, mediapersons and legal experts also stressed the role of media in highlighting and advocating the issues of torture and the current legislation that was in process.

They shed light on different aspects of the United Nation’s Convention against Torture (CAT) and its linkage with the national laws, especially provisions in the constitution of Pakistan, the Pakistan Penal Code and the Code of Criminal Procedures, that address the issue of torture. Speaking on the occasion, Human Rights Commission of Pakistan representative Kamran Arif shared the importance of translating CAT into the national legislation.

He also highlighted specific provisions incorporated in the constitution, including Article 14 and Clauses 339, 340 and 349 (Chapter XVI) of the PPC that condemned torture. He was proponent of legislations that were in the pipeline on the issue.

Activist Nasreen Azhar shared her experiences of torture and incidences of torture she had witnessed herself. She condemned the human rights’ violations. Senior journalist from Peshawar Farzana Ali highlighted the role media could play in highlighting and portraying the issue of torture.

Quoting specific examples, she shared the vulnerabilities and threats the journalists face while reporting cases of violence and torture. Speaking on the occasion, Rozan Senior Coordinator Shabana Arif shared her views on the prevalence of torture in the country. She said the media, as an important pillar of society, should be the representative of society and highlight issues of torture.

She also highlighted the importance of collaboration between the media and civil society to advocate for translating international commitments into national legislation, especially on torture. The seminar was attended by the journalists, civil society activists and lawyers.

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