Saturday, October 16, 2010

PAKISTAN: The government wants impunity on its track record of gross violations of human rights

A Statement by the Asian Human Rights Commission, Oct 15, 2010

It is diluting the UN ICCPR and CAT by having reservations against many of their provisions.

The ratification of the of UN International Covenant on Political and Civil Rights (ICCPR) and the UN convention against Torture (CAT) this June had come after a valiant struggle by the human rights movement and had raised new hopes among the civil society and made them convinced of Pakistan’s commitment for restoring the rule of law. They were mistaken. All the happiness proved to be a premature celebration of a victory that was not worth the paper, which it was written on. The belief, that the ratification was a proof that Pakistan is taking slow but steady steps for consolidating the gains made by the democratic movement, turned out to be just that; a belief.

The hopes were short-lived. The President of Pakistan has ratified the convention but with ‘reservations’. Even a cursory look at the reservations makes it absolutely clear that ratifying the convention was only a window dressing exercise with little meaning.

Through the reservations on UN Convention against Torture, the government of Pakistan has explicitly declared that it will not specify torture as the criminal offence in the domestic law.

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