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April 4, 2012 / Man in the Mirror

FJWU holds international conference on human rights

RAWALPINDI: A three-day international conference on ‘Implementing Human Right: A Way Forward’, was organised by the Department of Gender Studies at the Fatima Jinnah Women University (FJWU) in collaboration with the Department of Human Rights and Minorities Affairs.

The objectives of the conference were to review issues, challenges and practices regarding human rights around the world and to identify the issues of human rights in the marginalised groups of society, as well as to provide a forum for civil society organisations, policy makers, human rights activists and researchers to collectively analyse the constraints in the provision of human rights to citizens. 

During the conference, 32 papers were presented by scholars, affiliated with universities of the country and around the world, which included eight papers from Indian, American, Australian, Spanish and British universities. 

Eminent professors and human rights activists in the relevant fields chaired the sessions. Due to the current situation of Pakistan, only one speaker was able to present her paper in person and other three presented their papers online. 

Scholars within the country were from the Lahore School of Economics, University of Sindh, University of Peshawar, University of Wah, University of Kohat, Iqra University Peshawar, Azad Jammu and Kashmir University, International Islamic University, Allama Iqbal Open University and Fatima Jinnah Women University. 

Some 200 participants attended the conference, while papers were presented on 12 different themes in three days. 

Speaking on the occasion, Justice (r) Nasira Javed Iqbal highlighted the situation of violence, justice and human rights in the world, especially in Pakistan. 

Professor Dr Mehtab Karim of the School of Public Policy, George Mason University, USA, discussed human rights with respect to women, national and international perspective in terms of reproductive control as a symptom of women’s low status. 

Professor Dr Maithree from Sri Lanka thrashed out the education system and human rights particularly with reference to Sri Lanka.

The speakers said that Pakistan was one of the most violence-facing countries in the world in terms of cultural, domestic, criminal and religious/sectarian violence.

The parallel legal system in the country is based on common law – Sharia law and jirga system – that also is a problem. The way the issues of minorities are handled in Pakistan needs serious attention. 

Professor Karim noted that a similar situation was prevailing all over the world, but in a more intense way in Muslim countries. 

Professor Mitri discussed the serious gaps in practicing laws and written laws in Pakistan and Sri Lanka. She mentioned that gender violence and sexual violence had not happened in isolation, “they are embedded in the structure of society”. “Without critical understanding of education, it is difficult to understand change. Moreover, advocating women rights does not mean to deprive the rights of another group in society.” app

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