SOHRIS: resource hub on human rights launched

The Sindh Human Rights Commission, in partnership with the Human Rights Department, marked Human Rights Day, honouring the 75th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) on 9 Dec 2023 in Karachi. This pivotal document upholds the inherent rights of all individuals, regardless of differences, prompting reflection on global progress and challenges in safeguarding human rights.

The event highlighted the launch of innovative online portal serving as a comprehensive resource hub on human rights, legal safeguards, and avenues for seeking remedy. The portal aligns with the commission’s 2023-2027 plan, emphasising diverse societal empowerment through heightened awareness of human rights.  

The launch of the Human Rights Information Portal, i.e. SOHRIS, Mr. Qindeel Shujaat, Executive Director, the Partner of Sindh Human Rights Commission, explained the difference between a portal and a website. Portals are for exchange of information,” he pointed out, adding that SOHRIS mainly served as a comprehensive resource hub, providing information on human rights, legal safeguards and avenues for seeking remedy while enhancing knowledge, awareness and understanding of human rights across diverse sections of society.

In his introductory remarks to mark the occasion, Justice (retd) Arslan Sheikh said that the 30 articles in the Declaration of Human Rights were important for each country of the world because they were for humanity. “But that said, we must also think about what we have done or what we are doing for human rights,” he said.

SHRC Chairperson Iqbal Detho said that despite the UDHR, crimes against humanity and against peace had not stopped.

Tracing the journey of the document from its inception in 1946 to its completion in 1948, he remembered the respected ladies who shaped the 30 articles of the Declaration, especially the then US First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt, for her leading role in drafting it, and Pakistan’s Begum Shaista Ikramullah for championing Article 16 on equal rights in marriage to combat child and forced marriages.

He termed the UDHR as the cornerstone of human rights. He mentioned SHRC’s objectives, addressing human rights violations and abuses, and the accessibility of SHRC’s complaint form. He also stressed SHRC’s advocacy for remand homes and women and children desks at police stations across districts.

Additionally, he highlighted SHRC’s training programmes for judicial members and police on various laws, their work concerning minorities, inspections of government facilities including jails and hospitals, and interventions for the transgender community.

The launch of the study, Mapping of Legal Aid Mechanisms in Sindh Province, had SHRC’s legal consultant Barrister Rida Tahir inform in detail about its aims. The study offers a panoramic view of legal aid services within provincial, national, and international legal frameworks.

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