The Roundtable Discussion centered around three thematic areas – Harassment at the Workplace, Equal Opportunity, and the Informal Sector – and was attended by representatives from business entities, members of the legal fraternity, academia, government and civil society organizations, which provided for a rigorous debate on the topic.
RSIL has been engaged by the Federal Ministry of Human Rights and the United Nations Development Fund to undertake a national assessment of existing human rights standards within the business context. The project was based on the inordinate impact of business activity on the enjoyment of human rights which has become an area of global focus over the past few decades.
The first step in understanding Pakistan’s role within the Business and Human Rights (BHR) context was to establish a national baseline assessment, which is a prerequisite to the development of a National Action Plan on Business and Human Rights (NAP) in the State. Through this project RSIL developed an in-depth National Baseline Assessment covering; Pakistan’s Duty to Protect Human Rights, Business Responsibility to Respect Human Rights and the Duty to provide adequate redressal in cases of violation of human rights by businesses. This entailed an exhaustive review of human rights standards established through international instruments, fundamental protections accorded within the Constitution of Pakistan, and human rights and labour standards established within Pakistan’s domestic legal framework.
RSIL has developed the First Draft of the National Action Plan on Business and Human Rights and drafted an extensive baseline assessment on existing BHR standards in Pakistan. The National Baseline Assessment has been conducted using the DIHR-ICAR framework which has been designed to adequately inform the formulation and prioritization of actions in the NAP. Pillar I within the baseline assessment provides an exhaustive analysis of Pakistan’s domestic legal framework and includes a review of over 163 laws, and 127 judicial decisions. Additionally, RSIL undertook a qualitative and quantitative review of policies introduced within companies domiciled in Pakistan.
In order to make the NAP development process as transparent and consultative as possible, a survey of almost 150 companies was conducted to thoroughly analyse the extent to which human rights standards are implemented within business activity in Pakistan. Additionally, the team conducted interviews and consultation sessions, engaging over 200 relevant stakeholders across the country. This exercise guided RSIL’s identification of key areas of intervention which led to the development of the First Draft of the National Action Plan on Business and Human Rights for Pakistan, presented to the Ministry of Human Rights, Pakistan.
- Oves Anwar, Director Research
- Minahil Khan, Sr. Research Fellow
- Ayesha Malik, Sr. Research Associate
- Hijab Siddiqui, Communications Lead & Research Associate
- Zoha Shahid, Research Associate
- Abraze Aqil, Research Associate
- Fer Ghanaa Ansari, Research Associate
- Mohib Wazir, Communications & Outreach Associate
- Seemal Hameed, Junior Research Associate
- Simrah Faruqi, Junior Research Associate