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KARACHI: The Sindh Assembly on Monday unanimously passed “the Sindh Protection of Human Rights (Amendment) Bill, 2022” to make the Sindh Human Rights Commission a more effective institution.

In line with the legislation: The Sindh Human Rights Commission will consist of nine members including two legislators of the Sindh Assembly, whom the Speaker will nominate, four individuals with experience in this field, one from religious minorities.

One of its members, the CM Sindh will appoint while The Sindh Human Right Department will nominate anyone of its Additional Secretary or Deputy Secretary to the Commission.

The Commission’s members should not be over 60 years while its chairman and members will hold the office for a four- year term unless they themselves resign or removed.

The fresh legislation changed the appointment criterion for the Commission, making it compulsory for an individual to have a 15-year of experience in the relevant field.

Similarly, a retired judge or any person qualified to become a judge of the High Court can find an appointment for the Commission.

The legislation will help protect the citizens’ rights indiscriminately, Special Assistant to the Chief Minister for Human Rights, Surendar Valasai told the house. The amendment will serve as an alternate dispute resolution and accountability mechanism for business-related abuse of human rights and provide easy access to solutions, the law says.

The Commission can visit any business enterprise or corporate entity with a prior intimation to the concerned corporate entity’s supervisory body or authority to ascertain the reported violations or abuse and the working conditions of employees, workers or inmates of the supply chain or the value chain, it adds.

It has the powers to review the safeguards for the protection of human rights and also in the sphere of business, human rights and national action plan to ensure accountability and access to solutions as an alternate dispute forum besides recommending steps for an effective implementation of procedure and a due diligence in enterprises.

Its objects and reasons says: “In view of the country’s international commitment to UN conventions Generalized Scheme of Preference (GSP+) and United Nations Guiding Principles on Human Rights and to make Sindh Human Rights Commission an effective institution to cater contemporary demands and challenges, the capacity and role of the SHRC is required to be strengthened and enhanced so as to make it work in a proactive and response manner and to serve as a provincial alternative dispute resolution forum, in the domain of business and human rights.”

MMA’s Syed Abdul Rasheed attended the session with a ripped shirt, alleging the staff of Lyari General Hospital, which the Sindh government runs. He said that the staff held him hostage for two hours and harassed him.

He accused the hospital administration of Rs480 million of corruption, saying that he was threatened with a serious convenience during his visit to the healthcare facility. He vowed to continue his struggle for the rights of public, regardless of threats. Sindh Parliamentary Affairs Minister, Mukesh Kumar Chawla assured him that the assembly’s committee will hold a meeting on his case.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2022


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