Pakistan has “culture of impunity” on human rights abuses: US report

 Pakistan has “culture of impunity” on human rights abuses: US report Washington, April 9: Pakistan’s security forces enjoy “a culture of impunity” in relation to human rights abuses in the country, and police have often failed to protect members of religious minorities from attacks in the Islamic nation, a US report on human rights practices in 2010 has said.

The US State Department’s ‘2010 Human Rights Report’ noted that the major human rights problems in Pakistan included extrajudicial killings, disappearances, and torture.

“Although the government initiated an investigation into an Internet video showing men in military uniforms apparently committing extrajudicial killings, a failure to credibly investigate allegations, impose disciplinary or accountability measures, and consistently prosecute those responsible for abuses contributed to a culture of impunity,” the report said.

“Poor prison conditions, instances of arbitrary detention, lengthy pre-trial detentions, a weak criminal justice system, insufficient training for prosecutors and criminal investigators, a lack of judicial independence in the lower courts, and infringements on citizens'' privacy remained problems. Harassment of journalists, some censorship, and self-censorship were problems. There were some restrictions on freedom of assembly,” it added.

The report said that corruption was ‘widespread’ within the government as well as lower levels of the police forces, and the government made “few attempts to combat the problem.”

It also observed that rape, domestic violence, sexual harassment, honour crimes, abuse, and discrimination against women remained serious problems, whereas religious freedom violations as well as violence and discrimination against religious minorities continued.

“Women were victims of various types of societal violence and abuse, including "honour killings," mutilation, forced marriages, imposed isolation, and being used to settle disputes. Women often were treated as the property or goods of their families, and perpetrators were often husbands and other male family members,” the report said.

It further pointed out that hundreds of women reportedly were killed in the name of honour every year, and “many cases went unreported and unpunished.”

Regarding child abuse cases in Pakistan, the report noted that widespread human trafficking, forced child labour and commercial sexual exploitation of children remained problems in the country.

“NGOs reported that more than one million persons were in bondage, primarily in Sindh and Punjab. A large proportion of bonded labourers were low-caste Hindus, and lower socio-economic level Christians and Muslims,” the report said.

About discrimination against religious minorities in Pakistan, it said: “Police often failed to protect members of religious minorities, including Christians, Ahmadis, and Shia Muslims, from attacks.” (ANI)