The Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) has called upon the government to take effective measures to ensure that there is no impunity for state agents violating the prohibition on torture under Pakistani law as well as international human rights and humanitarian law.
by: Dr Mehdi Hasan Chairperson
Lahore, June 25: The Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) has called upon the government to take effective measures to ensure that there is no impunity for state agents violating the prohibition on torture under Pakistani law as well as international human rights and humanitarian law.
In a statement issued on Friday, ahead of International Day against Torture on June 26, HRCP said: “This year the world commemorates International Day against Torture soon after Pakistan has ratified the UN Convention against Torture and other Cruel, Inhuman and Degrading Treatment or Punishment (UNCAT). While the ratification testifies a commitment by Islamabad against torture, it is only a good first step and a lot more needs to be done to translate that resolve into reality.
Pakistan must now make implementation of UNCAT a key priority through effective measures to make the protections against torture provided under the UN convention enforceable through domestic courts. HRCP also urges Pakistan to sign the Optional Protocol to the UN Convention against Torture, which provides further effective measures to prevent torture and other forms of ill-treatment.
Torture cannot be justified under any circumstances. Protection against torture is a non-derogable right, which must be protected even in times of armed conflict. In spite of an absolute ban on torture and ill-treatment, enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, UNCAT, as well as in Pakistani laws, the practice of torture and other forms of ill-treatment remains widespread in the country, mainly by police and the security forces, agencies that are tasked with protecting the people and their rights. The government must do everything within its power to change that and end impunity. The government is under an obligation to investigate every allegation of torture and prosecute those responsible for acts of torture.
The government must also ensure, through the domestic legal system, provision of an enforceable right to fair and adequate compensation, including the means for as full rehabilitation as possible, to victims of acts of torture.”