HRCP demands more efficient relief arrangements for IDPs

Lahore: Expressing concern at reports of hardships still being faced by the people displaced as a result of the military operation in North Waziristan, the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) has called for more efficient arrangements for looking after these IDPs and meaningful cooperation between the authorities and civil society organizations.

In a statement issued here on Friday, HRCP said, “The Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) welcomes the Prime Minister’s decision to visit the Bannu camp for the North Waziristan IDPs and hopes that the instructions issued by him will significantly reduce the hardships of these unfortunate people.

HRCP is seriously concerned at the reports that the IDPs were not satisfied over the scale of help offered to them. It was said that a large number of the IDPs have been obliged to look for private accommodation in Bannu and other cities. Many of them have sought shelter in Peshawar. If the displaced families’ reluctance to enter government camps is due to lack of reasonable facilities and an environment of friendly care, these shortcomings must expeditiously be removed. Past experience shows that women and children among IDPs suffer more than others. They must be treated with special care. Instead of waiting for them to queue up at the designated points, the officials should go to them and help them without compromising their dignity.

“Since the whole world has taken alarm at the high incidence of polio cases in the North Waziristan Agency, all authorities in any way involved with matters relating to the IDPs must make extra efforts to ensure that the task of administering the anti-polio drops to all of them is being diligently pursued. The need to create an inspection team to monitor this campaign is manifest.

“While the government has done well to appeal to the country’s entire population to join the effort to meet the needs of IDPs, the complaints that the media and civil society organizations are being denied access to the camp must be removed forthwith. These restrictions are totally unacceptable. Instead of preventing the civil society from extending succour to IDPs and the media from keeping the people informed the authorities should create a workable mechanism for government – civil society collaboration in the best interests of the affectees.”

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