HRCP calls for end to impunity for torture

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On the occasion of International Day in Support of Victims of Torture on June 26 there is a need for Pakistan to finally criminalize torture which is obligatory after the country’s ratification of the Convention Against Torture in 2010. Torture diminishes the victims, the system that allows it and ultimately the state itself. HRCP stands with the victims of torture, demands that the state provide reparations to them and hold the perpetrators strictly accountable to end this culture of torture and renew the trust between law enforcement agencies and citizens.

In a statement released by the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) “Neither a state of war, nor political instability nor an order from a superior authority justifies torture which hurts the very foundation of the rule of law. While the Senate had passed the Torture and Custodial Death (Prevention and Punishment) Bill in 2021, HRCP regrets the fact that the bill has yet to be passed by the National Assembly. Such a marked delay in turning this bill into an act of legislation only sets us back further since the bill not only provides a comprehensive definition of torture that is lacking in the Pakistan Penal Code, but also empowers the National Commission for Human Rights to investigate cases of torture.”

The HRCP also urged “that the petition against internment centers, pending since 2019, be heard by the Supreme Court on priority basis, and that such legal systems that enable torture be dismantled and transformed. Allegations of custodial killings and torture in detention centers, police lockups and prisons abound; yet unfortunately, most instances of torture remain invisible. Torture is not only underreported but also difficult to prove in medical reports as has been noted in various credible studies carried out on the subject. Hence the complete impunity for torture.”

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Author: Alia Khan