Italy to help Pakistan set up independent rights commission

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Islamabad, Jan 21 (UNI) Italy will assist Pakistanin establishing an independent human rights commission to effectively address rights' issues.

An assurance to this effect was given by Italian Ambassador Roberto Mazzotta during a meeting with Minister for Human Rights Ansar Burney here today.

The ambassador informed him that a human rights commission had already been working in Italy since long and Pakistan could benefit from his country's experience in the field.

Mr Burney informed Mr Mazzotta that Human Rights Commission of Pakistan would soon see light of the day.

''It will have independent members, having no political affiliations and they will be mandated to use all possible means to curb human rights violations in the society,'' he added.

However, he did not say whether the government would disband the current commission, which comprises top rights activists, including Asma Jehangir and Iqbal Haider.

The minister said the commission would be vested with powers to float valuable suggestions over hosts of issues, adding that a number of concrete steps were being taken to tackle issues such as human smuggling and discrimination against women.

''For this purpose a full-fledged ministry has been created and all out efforts being made to adopt and practice effective mechanism which is recognised worldwide,'' he added.

Mr Burney said this is for the first time in the history of Pakistan that effective mechanism of international standards is being followed to address human rights issues.

He informed that certain issues like human trafficking, child abuses and plight of prisoners languishing in jails for long time were also given top priority.

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