Pakistan rights group: country failing to address human rights issues

Pakistan rights group: country failing to address human rights issues

The government of Pakistan has failed to resolve several human rights issues within the past year, according to a report [text, PDF] released Monday by the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) [advocacy website].

According to the HRCP, issues such as elimination of women’s rights, restriction on speech caused by disappearances of critics to the military or advocates for better relations with India, and lack protection for religious minorities are prevalent. Additionally, the report asserts that the blasphemy law is being misused against protesters. The report also alleges that the government is failing to stifle religious zealots and that children are forced to work under hazardous conditions.

HRCP reports that about 868 cases of “enforced disappearances” were processed in 2017 by the Commission of Inquiry on Enforced Disappearances. HRCP asserts, however, that the numbers are actually higher.

According to the report, Pakistan’s infrastructure and benefits programs are failing as well. Pakistan spends less on health than 6 percent of national GDP recommended by the World Health Organization [official website]. There is a lack of housing available for its civilians. Jails are overcrowded and courts are backlogged.

Pakistan was elected to the UN Human Rights Council in 2017. Accordingly, the HRCP is asking for Pakistan to meet the expectations of the Council to promote and protect human rights globally. They propose that simply enacting legislation is not enough to quell the human rights abuse in Pakistan but must be met with “adequate authority, independence, and resources to carry out their mandates effectively.”