6th November 2019, The Research Society of International Law assisted the Ministry of Human Rights (MoHR) in conducting a Consultation Session in Islamabad on Developing a National Action Plan on Business and Human Rights in Pakistan. This was the second consultation session to be conducted, following the first session held in October in Lahore. The purpose of these sessions is to develop an understanding on human rights in a business context, adopt the UN Guiding Principle on BHR and collect recommendations for the National Action Plan.
Organized in collaboration with UNDP in Pakistan, the event hosted business leaders and owners, employees, civil society members, lawyers and experts on business and human rights in Islamabad in an effort to promote and discuss the fate of Human Rights in the context of business in Pakistan. The session commenced with opening remarks from Mr. Malik Kamran Azam Khan, Joint Secretary of the Ministry of Human Rights of Pakistan, who welcomed the attendees and encouraged their input through out the day. This was followed by a presentation on Business and Human Rights and its relevance in Pakistan by Ms. Minahil Khan, Senior Research Fellow, RSIL.
A highlight of the event was a panel discussion on the status of Business and Human Rights in Pakistan. The panel discussed the scope and practical implications of the Business and Human Rights in Pakistan, also welcoming questions from the participants. The panel was chaired by leaders and professionals from the fields of business, law and human rights. Moderated by Mr. Oves Anwar, the panelists included Mr. Malik Kamran (Joint Secretary, Ministry of Human Rights), Ms. Amna Abbas (Advocate High Court), Mr. Salman Asif (UNDP Pakistan), Mr. Rafique Butt (President, Pakistan Labour Federation ISB-RWP) and Mr. Umer Gillani (Advocate High Courts).
Following an interactive question and answer session and lunch, the attendees were divided into three working group sessions, two consisting of employees and one with employers and business leaders. The groups were moderated by experts namely Ms. Minahil Khan, Ms. Benazir Jatoi (Lawyer) and Ms. Amna Abbas. Each group consisted of 20-30 participants along with note-takers from the RSIL team. The policy areas discussed were carefully interlinked to the nature of stakeholders in each group allowing them to openly discuss the problem areas and also suggest recommendations, for example the employees from the textile industry raised concerns on safety issues at hand and discussed how to address these.
The consultation session was concluded with the closing remarks from Mr. Livio Sarandrea, Team Leader for Business and Human Right in Asia, Asia Pacific Regional Hub UNDP, who thanked the participants for their support in furthering the understanding of Business and Human Rights in Pakistan.
Here are some highlights from the session: https://www.flickr.com/photos/undppakistan/albums/72157711747348952/with/49053332516/
To find out how you can be a part of the development of Business and Human Rights in Pakistan – log on to www.bhr.com.pk and follow the progress at #BHRPK