ISLAMABAD - The Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) on Thursday held a training workshop on Pakistan’s international legal obligations with respect to human rights.

A statement issued by HRCP said, supported by the Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom, the workshop’s aim was to introduce participants to the nature and scope of Pakistan’s obligations under the core human rights instruments it has ratified, as well as key human rights mechanisms such as the Universal Periodic Review. Kamran Arif, Vice-Chair of HRCP’s Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa chapter, explained the changing concept of sovereignty in international law in terms of the state’s ‘duty to protect’ and its accountability to the international community through UN treaty bodies and mechanisms.

Pointing out that the United Nations could be said to have ‘invented’ human rights, he described how the Universal Declaration of Human Rights came to be developed. Discussing the UN Convention Against Torture, Arif pointed out that the right to freedom from torture was an absolute right with no circumstances that ever justified the practice of torture or of cruel, degrading or inhuman treatment.

However, UNCAT remained the least understood convention in Pakistan because there was little awareness of the difference between torture and violence.