The Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) released its annual report titled ‘State of Human Rights in 2019’ on April 30 that exposed the façade of Pakistan’s claim of protecting the vulnerable sections of the country.
The HRCP report stated that the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic will worsen human rights record of Pakistan. The report stated that 2019 was the year of widespread social and economic marginalisation that left the weakest segment of society invisible and unheard.
I. A. Rehman, the Spokesperson of the HRCP, said that Pakistan’s human rights record in 2019 is ‘greatly worrisome’ and said the ongoing global pandemic was likely to cast a long shadow on prospects for human rights.
In the report, the HRCP observed that Pakistan had failed to protect its most vulnerable: reports of child labourers being sexually abused in mines surfaced in Balochistan, while news of young children being raped, murdered and dumped has become frighteningly common. The report extended that at least 2,846 cases of child abuse were documented, although the number was likely higher.
It also stated that crimes against women and minority communities were higher with ‘honour’ crimes taking an upward pace. The report stated that the province of Punjab accounted for the highest proportion of ‘honour’ crimes.
Speaking of press censorship, Harris Khalique, HRCP’s Secretary General, said, “The last year will be remembered for systematic curbs on political dissent, chokehold on press freedom and grievous neglect of economic and social rights.”