Pakistan criticized for human rights violations

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[JURIST] The Human Rights Commission of Pakistan [official website] harshly criticized the Pakistani government Thursday for its poor human rights record and called on government officials to fix the human rights abuses occurring in the country. In its 2010 Annual Report [text, PDF], the group chronicles the repeated human rights violations that have taken place in the country over the past year, citing growing intolerance and extremism in the country. The report praises Pakistan’s ratification of various international human rights treaties but acknowledges that immediate improvements have yet to be seen. The report criticizes the government for failing to address the violations and encourages the government to step up its prevention of ongoing abuses. According to the report, religious minority citizens and women, suffered the most abuses. The report also states that every level of the government failed in its protection of basic human rights and encourages the government to implement “mechanisms” to oversee that all international human rights treaties are being followed. The government was also blamed for its inability to reform blasphemy laws and abolish the death penalty [JURIST report].

Last week, the US Department of State (DOS) [official website] released [JURIST report] the 2010 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices [materials]. The governments of Afghanistan and Pakistan [materials] were criticized for their conduct in the war against the Taliban and al Qaeda. However, the 2008 Pakistani elections [JURIST report] were deemed “competitive and reflective of the people’s will,” restoring democratic rule and leading to some human rights progress. Last month, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay [official profile] condemned [JURIST report] the assassination of Pakistani Minister for Minority Affairs Shahbaz Bhatti and expressed her opposition to Pakistan’s controversial blasphemy law. Controversy surrounding Pakistan’s blasphemy law has recently been reignited over the case of Asia Bibi, a Christian woman sentenced to death for insulting the Prophet Muhammad [JURIST news archive] during an argument with other women in her village last year. Bhatti had spoken out in favor of reforming the law.

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