human rights are affected by politics and the economy hrcp
Last updated on September 21st, 2023 at 11:16 am
The Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) expressed concern over the political and economic unrest of last year, both of which have had a significant impact on the human rights situation, in its flagship annual report State of Human Rights in 2022. The supremacy of Parliament was not respected by either the current or previous administrations, and disputes between the legislative, executive, and judicial branches weakened institutional integrity.
More about the HRCP report and concern on Human Rights-
According to the report, political victimization persisted throughout the year, and sedition laws from the colonial era were used as a weapon to suppress dissent. Ironically, in the same year that the Parliament passed a law making the use of torture illegal, dozens of journalists and opposition politicians were detained, and there were subsequent allegations of torture committed while they were in custody. Law enforcement officers and protesters clashed during the unrest that followed the successful vote of no confidence against the former prime minister Imran Khan, and the right to freedom of assembly was not only violated but also abused.
Terror attacks alarmingly increased this year, reaching their highest level in five years with 533 fatalities. Even after Khyber Pakhtunkhwa residents in particular warned of impending changes of this nature, the state struggled to deal with militancy. The HRCP also notes an increase in forced disappearances, particularly in Balochistan, where 2,210 reported cases have gone unresolved despite a bill passed by the National Assembly making the practice illegal. The report also notes that over 33 million people were adversely affected by floods brought on by climate change, which devastated much of the nation. This underwhelming response has highlighted the need for strong local governments across all provinces and territories.
Growing threats to the right to freedom of religion or belief continue to be of great concern. The frequency of mob lynchings appears to have increased, even though the number of police reports regarding blasphemy accusations decreased. In particular, the Ahmadiyya community faced threats, with over 90 graves and several places of worship being vandalized, mostly in Punjab. With at least 4,226 reported rape and gang rape cases and a pitifully low conviction rate for offenders, violence against women persisted unabatedly. Additionally, the conservative backlash against the hard-won Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Act 2018 made the scale of violence and discrimination against trans people—the theme of this edition of the report—even worse.
The report points out that the rights of workers and peasants were gravely neglected in a year that saw the nation’s economic situation start to collapse. Despite an increase in the minimum wage, the state has not yet acknowledged that it is still below what is considered a living wage. Additionally, even though about 1,200 bonded laborers in Sindh were released, the district vigilance committees established in 2022 continued to be largely ineffective. At 90 workers, the country’s mines still had a very high death toll.
If the state is to take a pro-people stance on politics, law, and governance, HRCP demands that it act swiftly on these issues.