The Ministry of Human Rights and the Balochistan Judicial Academy signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the aim to deliver human rights training to judges in the province. The training intervention is part of the Ministry of Human Rights’ Huqooq-e-Pakistan training and capacity building programme for federal and provincial human rights institutions, funded by the European Union in Pakistan.
The training seeks to acquaint and educate judges and prosecution departments in laws pertaining to human rights and their application in the criminal justice system. It is also geared towards raising awareness and increasing understanding of the national human rights framework in Pakistan, as well as international human rights commitments. The programme has been designed to ensure grassroots experiences are shared with judges in order to reduce the gaps in their understanding the specific challenges of women, children and minorities with regards to accessing justice.
The MoU signing ceremony was held at the Ministry of Human Rights in Islamabad on Wednesday. Federal Secretary for Human Rights, Ms. Rabiya Javeri Agha signed on behalf of the ministry with Syed Anwar Aftab, Director General of the Balochistan Judicial Academy. Speaking at the MoU ceremony, Ms. Rabiya Javeri Agha gave an overview of the importance of placing the human rights-based approach at the centre of the justice system. She said that the initiative would enable judges to deliver more nuanced judgements, ensuring adherence to human rights standards and obligations as enshrined in the Constitution of the Pakistan, as well as the international human rights instruments that Pakistan has ratified. This will help ensure the protection of the rights of the vulnerable while maintaining the rights of the accused.
Speaking at the ceremony, Syed Anwar Aftab said, “We are delighted to be partnering with MoHR through Huqooq-e-Pakistan in training Balochistan’s judges and prosecutors on an unprecedented scale,” He further added that, “Huqooq-e-Pakistan has been exemplary in their outreach to us and we are very impressed with the quality of their training methodology and modules.”
In April last year, the Ministry of Human Rights also signed an MoU with the Sindh Judicial Academy to collaborate for strengthening the capacity of the Session Court judges in the province of Sindh. Subsequently, over 60 trial court judges have received training under the Huqooq-e-Pakistan programme over the past year.
The training was delivered by the Legal Aid Society. The expansion and replication of this training initiative in other provinces has the potential to significantly strengthen the judiciary towards protecting the rights of the vulnerable and ensuring the administration of justice in Pakistan.