The core human rights treaties set international standards for the protection and promo on of human rights to which Pakistan has subscribed by becoming a party to the treaties through ratification. The government has an obligation to take steps to ensure that everyone can enjoy the rights set out in the treaties. Though each treaty caters to specific areas and is a stand-alone document, according to the UN it is essential to consider all the human rights treaties together as a whole, for the treaties complement each other, with a number of principles binding them together.
“Each includes explicitly or implicitly the basic principles of non-discrimination and equality, effective protection against violations of rights, special protection for the particularly vulnerable and an understanding of the human being as being an active and informed participant in public life of the State in which he or she is located and in decisions affecting him or her, rather than a passive object of authorities' decisions.” All the treaties are mutually reinforcing, and “no rights can be fully enjoyed in isolation, but depend on the enjoyment of all other rights.”
Out of the nine UN human rights treaties, Pakistan has ratified seven core treaties which are linked with the GSP Plus tariff-free trade scheme granted to Pakistan by the EU.
The country has not ratified yet the International Convention on the Protec on of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of their Families and the International Convention for the Protec on of all Persons from Enforced Disappearances.
Pakistan has ratified the two Optional Protocols to the Convention on the Rights of the Child (on the involvement of children in armed conflict and on child prostitution and child pornography) and the Optional Protocol of the Convention against Torture. There are nine protocols linked to the treaties. Pakistan has yet to sign seven of the remaining optional protocols. The ratification of the protocol to a treaty empowers the international monitoring bodies to take action against a defaulting state.
Pakistan has not accepted the individual complaints procedures under the treaties as required. It has also not accepted the inquiry procedure under the Convention against Torture.
Under the UN reporting system, reporting periodicities are different for the treaties. Generally, the initial report after ratification is submitted within one or two years. Periodic reports need to be submitted after two years (ICERD), four years (ICCPR, CEDAW, CAT) or five years (ICESCR, CRC, ICRMW). Another process of monitoring used by the UN is the Universal Periodic Review (UPR). The process involves a review of the human rights records of all UN Member States. The UPR is a State-driven process, under the auspices of the Human Rights Council, which provides the opportunity for each State to declare what actions they have taken to improve the human rights situations in their countries and to fulfil their human rights obligations. In the third cycle of UPR (2017-2022) Pakistan's UPR is scheduled for 13 November 2017.
Right to work is one of the fundamental human rights and embodies rights to have a source of productive livelihood, earn a decent remuneration, be free of exploitation and have a safe working environment. Rights at work are granted by the States through national legislation. The standards in the world of work are set by the International labor Organization. International labor standards lay down the basic minimum social standards for the protection of rights at work. An ILO Convention is an international treaty and by ratifying it a country agrees to apply its provision in domes c law and practice and accept international supervision.
Pakistan's domestic legislation does not adhere to all the principles laid down in the ILO core Conventions. Particularly the rights pertaining to freedom of association, the right to organize and collective bargaining are curtailed. Also, there is no national legislation for Equal Remuneration Convention C100.
The ILO has set 188 Conventions since its inception. Out of these, eight conventions are termed as core labor standards as these are the fundamental human rights at work place. Pakistan has ratified 36 ILO conventions, including eight core conventions.
Core ILO Conventions ratified by Pakistan:
There is an intrinsic link between the environment and the realization of human rights such as the right to life, to health, to food, to water. With a view to prevent human impacts on natural resources, international treaties and agreements on environment have been set by international bodies. The agreements bind the states to exercise due diligence over activities within their own territory or areas beyond state and to control environmental hazards that may impinge upon individual rights. The agreements enable countries to work together to address environmental issues that are transboundary in nature, such as air pollution, climate change, protection of the ozone layer and ocean pollution.
Pakistan has ratified the following treaties (linked with the GSP Plus):