In a noteworthy development, the Pakistani government has formed Treaty Implementation Cells (TICs) in all four provinces, as well as in Gilgit Baltistan, Azad Jammu and Kashmir, and at the federal level in 2016 in response to the requirements of the Generalised Scheme of Preferences Plus (GSP+). The TICs serve as a mechanism to improve the human rights situation in the country through their supervision of the implementation of 27 UN Conventions to which Pakistan is a signatory.
DRI, in an effort to strengthen civil society’s role in Pakistan’s progress towards human rights compliance, brought together members of the TICs with civil society leaders advocating for human rights in Lahore, Pakistan, on 12-13 October 2018. As part of its Capacity Development Programme for civil society leaders, 21 participants representing various civil society organisation gained knowledge on methods, tools, and strategies for designing and implementing human rights advocacy and campaigning, specifically with regards to how they can collaborate with existing government structures.
The Executive Coordinator of the TIC in Punjab, Mr Nasir Saeed, highlighted the government’s legislative and institutional progress to protect human rights in Pakistan, but stressed that “the problem remains with the implementation of the legislative framework”. Agreeing to jointly work towards the realisation of human rights in Pakistan, the participants emphasized the need for collaboration between government entities and civil society actors to realize the goal of wide-spread respect for human rights in the country.