ISLAMABAD: Since assuming his office as Minister for Human Rights in May 2016, Senator Kamran Michael has taken historic measures to ensure protection of basic human rights of common citizens, with a specific focus on the delivery of rights for children, women, marginalized groups and religious and ethnic minority groups in across country. Earlier, when this government took office in 2013, Prime Minister Muhammad Nawaz Sharif had appointed Kamran Michael as Minister for Ports and Shipping. However, the responsibilities of Senator Kamran were switched to Human Rights keeping in view his tremendous performance as Minister for Human Rights in Punjab. Following assumption of his new assignment, Kamran Michael has worked day and night to ensure immediate redressal of rights to all minority groups in Pakistan. In this regard, the minister visited various areas of the country to ensure rights of children, women and minorities, including prisoners across the country. The biggest contribution of the federal minister is various laws enacted or tabled in the Parliament to protect minorities’ rights, including Anti Rape, Honor Killing, Criminal Bill Amendment Act 2016, Hindu Marriage Act, Christian Marriage and Divorce Bill, Child and Women Protection Bill, etc. Serious attention has been given by the honorable minister for implementation of the Action Plan on Human Rights approved by the Prime Minister during 2016. A task force under the chairmanship of Senator Kamran Michael has been established to expedite the implementation by federal and provincial functions. In this regard, the minister visited Shaheed Benazir Bhutto Center for Women, and ordered the improvement of basic needs to the child victim, women and groups arriving to seek assistance at the center. He also directed immediate financial and legal support to the victims of domestic violence and provision of immediate security, shelter, food, advocacy and counseling to the victims. Under the objective of protection and promotion of human rights coupled with attainment of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), the minister directed to improve the Toll Free Helpline 1099 through which the victims could seek all sorts of assistance free of cost. In compliance of the minister’s directive, now the victims from across the country can register their complaints and seek assistance on the toll free helpline 1099. This will be available 24/7 very soon. Moreover, other than shelter and food, the complainants can also get legal advice from experts on human rights violations and quick relief is provided to them, their families and other vulnerable segments of society. The Helpline received 41,510 complaints during 2016 while 4,969 calls were received for general information and 3,073 victims were provided legal advice and 33,089 were irrelevant/unnecessary calls. To protect the human rights at a grass root level, the federal minister has directed the establishment of Human Rights Committees at a district level. The district level committees would be working in collaboration with the local government under the supervision of the Federal Ministry for Human Rights to take immediate action on receiving complaints of violation of human rights.