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Human Rights Forgotten During Election Year: HRCP Report

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Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) expressed disappointment over the situation of human rights in the country in 2018 saying that ‘human rights was forgotten during the election’.

“The elections themselves were plagued by allegations of pre-poll manipulation and vote rigging – never fully resolved – and some appalling outbreaks of violence,” HRCP said, adding that there were some positives from the elections 2018 too e.g. more participation of women and transgender people.

HRCP said that 2018 saw attacks on freedom of expression and curbs on the media. “Fundamental right to freedom of expression was overtly violated, journalists increasingly resorted to self-censorship, the distribution of a national newspaper was severely curtailed, and a media blackout was imposed on coverage of certain events,” the report said.

The commission also highlighted the growth of crimes in 2018. “The public conscience was assailed by reports of enforced disappearances, extrajudicial killings, the abuse and murder of children, violence towards women, child labour, religious intolerance and the persecution of minorities.”

Statistical data showed that 845 incidents of sexual violence were reported in 2018, while 316 crimes in the name of ‘honour’ were committed. In Thar, Sindh, 638 children died of malnutrition in 2018. Also, as many as 12 million children were reportedly involved in child labour and around 16,136 internally displaced families have yet to return home.

HRCP also analysed performance of the judicial system. By year-end, there were close to 1.9 million cases pending in over 250 lower, special and superior courts. They also said that “the National Accountability Bureau (NAB)’s axe fell on former prime ministers, politicians, media personalities, CEOs, and university officials alike”.

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