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RISAHRM: Lahore Declaration, 10 June 2014

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Lahore Declaration, 2014

10 June 2014, Lahore, Pakistan

Recalling the guarantees and protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms enshrined in the Constitution of Pakistan and other South Asian States;

Reminding South Asian States of the commitments made under several international human rights treaties and instruments including regional instruments through the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation;

Noting the initiatives taken by SAARC and South Asian states in the field of human rights and the explicit recognition in the SAARC Social Charter, 2004 and the Charter of Democracy,2011 of the need for States in the region to promote universal respect for and observance and protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms for all;

Encouraged by the decision to set up a National Human Rights Institution in Pakistan and the enlargement of Fundamental Rights in the Constitution of Pakistan to include the right to information, education and fair trial through the 18th Amendment;

Committing to a culture of peace and fraternity among all peoples and States in South Asia and our common goal of working towards ensuring freedom and rights for all;

Recognizing that adequate protection and enjoyment of human rights for and by, especially those sections of the society that are denied the protection of the rule of law and civilised governance, is the only way to end impunity and ensure peace and harmony in Pakistan and the region;

Cognizant of the fact that regional human rights mechanisms are emerging and expanding in different parts of the world;

Recalling the commitments made by Pakistan and other States in the Addu Declaration, 2011 for the protection of human rights and setting up a regional mechanism for empowerment of women;

Emphasizingthe rationale and need for a regional human rights mechanism for South Asia to promote and protect the pluralistic nature of the region;

Resolving to mobilise greater support for the creation of an independent, effective and efficient regional mechanism in South Asia;

Noting in particular that the “South Asia Human Rights Mechanism” will provide broader adherence of States and address common human rights issues/concerns including human trafficking, treatment of foreign prisoners, rights of minorities, protection of the human rights of migrants and migrant workers, violence against women and children, people with disability rights, violation emerged from corruption and drug trafficking, terrorism and living environment issues;

Reaffirming the essential role of CSOs and human rights defenders in advocating for, establishing and ensuring effectiveness of a South Asia Human Rights Mechanism;

We, the participants at the ‘National Workshop on Building Consensus for a South Asia Human Rights Mechanism’, Lahore, 10th June 2014 call on the Government of Pakistan and all South Asian States to:

  • Establish a fully Paris Principles compliant National Human Rights Institution in Pakistan without further delay and strengthen the existing Institutions for greater effectiveness
  • Facilitate greater cooperation among National Institutions in the region towards ensuring human rights for all
  • Ensure maximum facilities, especially minimizing visa restrictions for civil society in the region to enable  deliberations on common concerns thus helping SAARC better discharge its human rights engagements
  • Work collectively towards the establishment of a robust South Asia Human Rights Mechanism with a mandate for the protection and promotion of human rights
  • Follow up on the initiatives for setting up of the Inter-governmental Expert Group for the establishment of a regional mechanism for the empowerment of women as directed in the Addu Declaration, 2011

Ensure inclusion in the Agenda of the 2014 SAARC Summit discussions relating to the establishment of a South Asia Human Rights Mechanism

Click here to download the Declaration (PDF)