UN Working Group, not mandated to conduct investigations, fact-finding : Hina
ISLAMABAD, Sept 12 (APP): Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar Wednesday informed the National Assembly that UN working group on human rights is not mandated to conduct any investigation or fact finding. “This group is neither mandated to fact finding nor investigating,” she clarified in her policy statement regarding visit of UN Working Group which currently is in Pakistan on the issue of missing persons. “There should be no ambiguity about this visit. It has a clear mandate. Pakistan has also been the member of UN Council on Human Rights and presented two reports,” she added.

Furthermore, this Group has also visited over a dozen countries and 91 countries have extended standing invitation for a visit, she said. “The working group is visiting Pakistan on our invitation”, she added.
The Foreign Minister said : “Pakistan has a mechanism in place for protection of human rights. The commission on missing persons is working, the Supreme Court has taken suo moto and the government is all sincere in protection of human rights”.
She rejected the notions about fact finding or investigation by the Group and said there is no need to overemphasize this visit.  The government is taking all measures for protection of human rights, she added.
She said Pakistan has also ratified many protocols and conventions of the UN regarding human rights and that shows the commitment of the government to protect rights of women, children, minorities and other vulnerable segments of the society.
Hina Rabbani Khar said the mandate of the working group is to engage with the governments to promote human rights. “It is not mandated to fact finding or investigation”, she added.
About the approval of the visit, the Minister said, the matter was discussed with all major stakeholders. Later, it underwent an inter-ministerial process and the summary was sent to the Prime Minister for approval, she added.
She mentioned three phases of the special procedure regarding the visit and said, the first one was a visit in May 2012, the second one was by UN Human Rights Council Chief in June 2012 and the present is the third one.
She said after the visit, the UN Human Rights Council Chief had appreciated Pakistan goverment’s steps and also raised the drone attacks issue with the US government.
She said the visit in conformity with the global norms and Head of Pakistan’s Commission on Missing Persons, Justice ® Javed Iqbal had also met the Group at Geneva.
“We should not be defensive to visit. We are a democratic and pluralist country where judiciary is independent, media is free and civil society is robust. All these features manifest that we protect human rights,” she added.
Hina Rabbani said “We in Pakistan are doing a commendable job and should be proud of the mechanism in place and the steps taken to meet the human rights challenges”.
She reiterated that the working group has a clearly crafted mandate and “we are sure that they will work within their mandate”.
“Pakistan remains committed to protect human rights regardless of color, creed, race and social status,” she said and recommended that especially the parliamentarians need to be careful and take the visit in its true context. “We need not to confuse it and be clear and mention to it in right context”,she added.