State of Human Rights in 2012:Highlights

The Human Rights Commission of Pakistan has prepared a comprehensive list on events relating to Human Rights in Pakistan during the year 2012. Following are some of the salient findings from the report.

Laws and law-making

The most significant enactments in 2012 included the 20th Constitutional Amendment which was related to electoral matters.

The law for the establishment of a National Commission of Human Rights came into force but remained unimplemented.

The National Commission on the Status of Women (NCSW) became autonomous. It sponsored four bills concerning minority rights but little progress was made concerning their passing.

Bills on accountability, freedom of information, and one aimed at increasing minority seats in the National and Provincial Assemblies failed to complete the legislative process.

No domestic legislation to facilitate implementation of international human rights instruments was possible.

22 Acts were made and eight ordinances issued.

Law and order

 350 police encounters were reported from across the country in 2012 in which 403 suspects were killed.

48 drone attacks took place in FATA in 2012, compared to 74 in 2011. Estimates of casualties varied between 240 and 400.

1,577 terrorist attacks took place across Pakistan in 2012, claiming the lives of 2,050 people and causing injuries to another 3,822. More than 100 Shia Hazaras were killed in Balochistan alone.

At least 2,284 people died in ethnic, sectarian and politically-linked violence in Karachi in 2012.

Jails, prisoners and disappearances

While HRCP received reports of 87 persons going missing across Pakistan, 72 were either traced or released. At least 72 dead bodies were recovered from Balochistan of individuals who had gone missing in previous months.

 In March, hundreds of attackers blew up the gates of Central Prison in Bannu and succeeded in releasing 384 prisoners, including one who had been on death row for trying to assassinate former president Pervez Musharraf.

There were a total of 75,444 detainees in Pakistan’s prisons against the authorised capacity of 44,578.

 

There were 1,289 juvenile prisoners in jails across the country, and an overwhelming majority of them was under trial.

59 detainees died in the custody of prison authorities in 2012, another 81 were injured and 10 incidents of alleged torture of detainees were reported.

Freedom of expression

At least 14 journalists were killed in Pakistan in 2012.

According to Press Freedom Index, Pakistan was one of the deadliest countries for journalists for the second year running, with a ranking of 151 out of 179 countries.

Two journalists filed a petition in the Supreme Court, asking for formation of an accountability commission to probe the sources of income of different channel owners, anchors and advertising agencies and the Supreme Court called for reports.

 The Fair Trial Bill of 2012 was unanimously passed in the National Assembly.

 Numerous artists, civil society activists and citizens protested against the ban on YouTube, labeling it a gross violation of the right to freedom of expression and access to information.

 Women

Pakistan stood at number 52 in the world ranking of countries according to the percentage of women in parliament.

Women made up only 2 percent of the trade union memberships in the country.

According to UNESCO, at least 5.1 million Pakistani children were out of school, 63 percent of whom were girls.

As many as 913 girls and women were killed in the name of honour in 2012. These included at least 99 minor girls.

74% of the girls married off in Charsadda and Mardan districts of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa in 2012 were under 16.

 

Children

A marginal decline was observed in infant mortality and under five year mortality rates in 2012 but Pakistan still lagged behind other South Asian countries.

58 cases of polio, a disease that afflicts only two other countries in the world, were reported from 28 districts of Pakistan.

Pakistan had the world’s second highest number of out-of-school children aged five to nine years. At 2.8 percent of its gross national product (GNP), Pakistan’s expenditure on education was the second lowest in South Asia.

During the first six months of 2012, 1,573 incidents of child sexual abuse were recorded.

Almost 10 million children were engaged in child labour.

 

 

 

 

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