Major ACHR report on Pakistan: Failure of institutions

December 11, 2012

The Asian Human Rights Commission – in spite of its name a NGO – published an elaborate and detailed report on human rights developments in Pakistan this year. The part on HRDs reads as follows:

Human Rights Defenders: Human rights defenders HRDs remain subject to: threats and reprisals against them and their families; harassment; legal and physical attacks; arbitrary arrests and detention; forced disappearance; and torture and extra-judicial killing by state and non-state actors. The government has failed to establish an effective national policy of protection for HRDs or to combat impunity by effectively investigating and prosecuting those responsible for such attacks. The lack of effort to combat impunity mirrors the lack of effort to address the whole range of human rights violations witnessed in Pakistan. And, this, in turn, stems from institutional failings within the police and justice delivery mechanisms, and lack of political will on the part of the government to institute effective institutional reforms. The fact that HRDs expose these failings, places them at particular risk.Persons who work in favour of human rights, but contrary to the interests of radical Islamist groups, face considerable threat, as may be noted in the killings in 2011 of the Governor of Punjab, Salman Taseer, and the Federal Minister of Minority Affairs, Shabaz Bhatti, who were targeted for their efforts to protect minorities, and their opposition to Pakistan’s draconian blasphemy laws.Another accepted recommendation calls for the government to address the repressive effect of civil society monitoring procedures and anti-terrorism legislation on the operation of human rights defenders. The sentencing of six leaders of a power-loom workers union to a total of 490 years in jail, based on fabricated charges under anti-terrorism legislation in November 2011, illustrates the government’s failure in this regard.The killings of HRD’s in Balochistan, while they were documenting cases of forced disappearances as part of the Supreme Court’s efforts to compile a list of cases, illustrates the  risks to defenders who work on the gravest rights abuses.   

The Government of Pakistan has failed to invite the Special Rapporteur on human rights defenders to visit the country despite accepting a recommendation to do so.

via PAKISTAN: Failure of the institutions related to the rule of law provides impunity to the perpetrators of violations human rights — Asian Human Rights Commission.

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