Pakistan, along with Russia and China, was re-elected to the United Nations Human Rights Council, bringing into spotlight the country’s sustained lack of commitment to promoting and protecting human rights.
In a joint statement Justice Project Pakistan (JPP), the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP), Digital Rights Foundation (DRF) and Group Development Pakistan (GDP) while congratulating the government stated that this was “an opportunity for the country to reflect on its human rights record, protect the rights of women, children, religious minorities, and other vulnerable and excluded groups, and to introduce much-needed policy and legal reforms in line with international treaty obligations. In particular, we welcome the government’s pledge to arrange visits of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights and the United Nations Special Rapporteurs to Pakistan, and look forward to the Special Rapporteurs’ outstanding visit requests being granted by the Government. Requests for visits from a number of special rapporteurs remain pending since as far back as 2000.”
Further, as the joint statement pointed out “the government has stated in its
pledge that the Torture, Custodial Death and Custodial Rape (Prevention and Punishment) Bill 2018 has reached the National Assembly/Senate. While promises about a bill to criminalise torture have been reiterated since 2016, we hope the law is passed before the end of this year. Prime Minister Imran Khan and Minister for Human Rights Shireen Mazari both reaffirmed their commitment to protect citizens from torture in September and June this year, respectively. Pakistan passed the Juvenile Justice System Act that safeguards the rights of children in 2018 and we hope the rules will soon be drafted for its effective implementation. Several juveniles remain on death row as their cases continue to pend. The precedent set by the Lahore High Court in February this year by commuting the sentence of Muhammad Iqbal should motivate the government to grant relief to other juvenile offenders on death row.”