HRCP calls on state to hasten rehabilitation of flood-affected 

Lahore, October 30, 2022 (PPI-OT):On concluding its 36th Annual General Meeting (AGM), the general body of the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) has called on the federal and provincial governments to accelerate their efforts to rehabilitate the thousands of people who have lost their homes and livelihoods in the recent floods. While the scale of the disaster was overwhelming, it is now essential to focus on resettling those displaced in habitats that are better adapted to the effects of climate change.

HRCP reiterates its call for urgent land reforms, which are critical not only to reducing poverty and realising rights such as equal access to food and housing, but are also necessary if the state is to rehabilitate vulnerable communities affected by the floods. While Pakistan has every right to demand climate reparations, it must also look within and articulate a strategy to ensure that its most vulnerable groups receive climate justice and to secure all people’s right to food, shelter and health amid the economic crisis.

HRCP also expresses its concern over the ongoing political turmoil and reminds both the government and opposition that not only is this harmful for Pakistan’s democracy, but it also threatens people’s fundamental rights and freedoms. The continuing impunity for perpetrators of enforced disappearances and extrajudicial killings remains cause for serious concern. HRCP recalls that it has been two months since one of its own members, Lala Fahim Baloch, was disappeared from Karachi and demands that he be recovered safely.

HRCP notes with alarm an uptick in mob violence, with two men lynched recently in Karachi on groundless suspicions that they were kidnappers. While this is a worrying symptom of an increasingly brutalised society, it also reflects loss of public faith in the state’s ability to ensure justice. The state must also heed the demands of people in Swat, who have long warned of the rise in militancy and must not be left to bear the brunt of extremist-fuelled violence.

The deliberate and insidious marginalisation of the Ahmadiyya community – most recently in the shape of declarations of faith being made mandatory to register a marriage – is cause for grave concern. HRCP also calls on the state to ensure that Scheduled Castes in Sindh are given their due representation in government and that their right to freedom from any manner of discrimination is protected. The malicious campaign against the Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Act 2018 must cease and the provincial governments must also enact legislation to protect the rights of transgender persons.

The state must also present and implement a strategy with respect to Afghan refugees that recognises their right to seek asylum in Pakistan and to live in dignity as refugees, while ensuring the political and economic rights of the host communities. Additionally, HRCP demands that all public institutions be made easily accessible for persons living with disabilities. HRCP also believes that all judicial appointments must be made without discrimination on the grounds of ethnicity, faith or gender.

Securing all people’s right to freedom of expression, assembly and association is vital to strengthening the democratic fabric. HRCP reiterates its condemnation of the FIR lodged against Manzoor Pashteen at the Asma Jahangir Conference. The Commission also calls on the government to ensure that all citizens’ right to peaceful protest is protected. Additionally, HRCP takes strong exception to the state’s efforts to over-regulate NGOs and civil society organisations, many of which play a key role in providing services in areas neglected by the state itself.

For more information, contact:
Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP)
Aiwan-i-Jamhoor, 107-Tipu Block,
New Garden Town, Lahore-54600
Tel: +92-42-35864994
Fax: +92-42-35883582