Whose human rights are we celebrating this year?

Unequal pensions
December 6, 2023
Cruelty @ Pakistan Post
December 19, 2023

Whose human rights are we celebrating this year?

10 December 2023 marks the 75th anniversary of one of the world’s most groundbreaking global pledges: the Universal Declaration of Human Rights . While this excellent document enshrines the inalienable rights that everyone is entitled to as a human being – regardless of race, colour, religion, sex, language or status, it has brought little benefit to Pakistan, except for appointment of numerous high-maintenance Human Rights Commissions and annual celebration of this event.

Perhaps this ought to be a day, when we should stand in silence for a few minutes and feel repentant at having  collectively snatched all human rights from the poorest of the poor and the neediest of the needy.

We must begin by apologizing to thousands of 12- and 15-year-old children who sweep the streets of Karachi for Rs13,000 per month, while the government departments share the booty of their wage theft. We must begin by apologizing to every private security guard of Pakistan who is made to work for 12 hours every day for less than half the legal minimum wage. We must begin by apologizing to some 400,000 petrol pump employees who perform 24-hour shifts for 15 days a month and paid less than one third the legal salary. We must begin by apologizing to 70 million workers whose  future was destroyed by non-registration to EOBI. Perhaps we could begin by apologizing to the graves-laden village of Shangla, which receives the dead bodies of over 50 and the crippled bodies of over 200  of its finest children every year. They die in the dark, hazardous and unsafe coal mines neglected by the compromised inspectors, so that the rich could get richer and happily celebrate the Human Rights Day.


Naeem Sadiq