Concerns of human rights violations in Pakistan and China have again been raised in the international forum. Meanwhile, the Pakistan’s allegations of Indian government committing human rights violation have again fallen flat.
According to the list of Human Rights Priority Countries published in ‘The 2019 Foreign and Commonwealth Office Report’ titled ‘Human Rights and Democracy’ by the British Government’s Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO), there remained serious human rights concerns and violations in Pakistan in 2019, including restrictions on civic space and freedom of expression, intolerance, and direct and open discrimination towards some minorities.
The report also raised concerns on the presence of bonded and child labour and continued religious persecution in the country. The Global Slavery Index 2018 estimated that over three million people were living in modern slavery in Pakistan.
“While the Supreme Court of Pakistan upheld the acquittal in January of Asia Bibi, a Christian woman who had been accused of blasphemy, Ahmadi Muslims, Christians and other minorities continued to suffer severe levels of discrimination and intolerance, with attacks on places of worship, including mosques and churches,” the FCO said.
Citing the Reporters Without Borders 2019 World Press Freedom Index where Pakistan fell to 142nd of 180 countries, the report said, “The media came under increased pressure and censorship, including threats and intimidation towards journalists, and state interference. Opposition leaders and other critics of the authorities faced increasing difficulties in expressing their opinions, including through social media. Reports of enforced disappearances of human rights defenders, journalists, and others continued.”
On the violence against the minority communities in the country, the report said the discrimination and violence against members of Muslim minorities, religious minorities and minority ethnic communities continued, especially against Ahmadiyya Muslims and Christians, but also Hindus and Shia Muslims, including Hazaras.
“Discrimination and violence against women and girls remained prevalent. Pakistan ranked 151st of 153 countries in the World Economic Forum 2020 Gender Gap Index. The female literacy rate was just 46.5 per cent. The Child Marriage Restraint (Amendment) Bill was passed by the Senate in April, but was later rejected by the National Assembly Standing Committee on Law and Justice,” the report read.
Besides Pakistan, the report has also raised concern over prevalent human rights violation in China.
“The human rights situation in China has continued to deteriorate significantly and consistently since 2018. China continued to place restrictions on expression of religious belief, ethnic minorities, the media and wider freedom of expression, as well as detaining and harassing human rights defenders, and restricting the space for civil society to operate. The authorities’ use of arbitrary detention continued, as did a lack of judicial transparency and due process, particularly in cases deemed ‘politically sensitive’. In Xinjiang, credible estimates indicate that over 1 million Uyghurs and other ethnic minorities have been extrajudicially detained in internment camps across the region,” the report read.
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