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Minorities’ Rights Bodies Reject Govt’s ‘Toothless’ Commission On Minorities

Minorities’ rights bodies have rejected the ‘toothless’ National Commission for Minorities that was formed by Ministry for Information on Monday.

In a joint statement by Centre for Social Justice and Peoples’ Commission for Minorities Rights and Cecil & Iris Chaudhry Foundation, the rights organisations rejected the minorities’ commission, saying: “The government’s move is a blatant aberration from the Supreme Court (SC)’s ruling in 2014, wherein the then chief justice Tassauq Hussain Jillani had ordered the formation of a national council for minorities.”

Peter Jacob, the Chairman of Peoples’ Commission for Minorities Rights said that the orders of the SC court cannot be complied with unless an empowered and independent body is established that has powers to hold inquiries and provide remedies to human rights violations. “According to the UN guidelines for human rights institutions, anyone holding a political office cannot be part of the commission. These Commissions should reflect a political consensus between government and opposition as provided for the establishment of a National Human Rights Commission 2012,” he said.

The human rights activist rejected the commission saying that a body without powers and resources will defeat the purpose of protecting minorities’ rights.

The statement further said, “Earlier the National Commission for Human Rights, National Commission on Status of Women and Commission of the Rights of the Child were established under proper legislation. We appeal to Prime Minister Imran Khan and members of the federal cabinet to review the decision in the interest of the country.”

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