Mixed human rights record in Pakistan: US
* US State Dept says Islamabad committed arbitrary killings in ongoing conflict, terrorism and violence affected all regions of country in 2009
WASHINGTON: The United States reported on Thursday that the US-backed governments in Pakistan, Afghanistan and Iraq had mixed results in protecting human rights in 2009.
In Pakistan, “significant human rights challenges remain” even though the civilian authorities took some “positive steps, “ the US State Department said in an annual report on human rights abuses worldwide. It said “major problems” included extra-judicial killings, torture, and disappearances.
The report said human rights abuses continued in Iraq even when the security situation had improved.
Unlawful killings: “There were reports that the government or its agents committed arbitrary or unlawful killings in connection with the ongoing conflict, and insurgent and terrorist bombings, executions, and killings continued to affect all regions and sectors of society,” it said. It added that “violence against the media was common, and media workers reported that they engaged in self-censorship.”
“The security situation in Afghanistan deteriorated significantly because of increased insurgent attacks, with civilians bearing the brunt of the violence,”
Separately, China’s human rights record worsened last year as authorities increased harassment of activists and repression in the Xinjiang region, the US State Department said.
“The government’s human rights record remained poor and worsened in some areas,” the annual report by the department said.
It said Beijing “increased the severe cultural and religious repression of ethnic minorities” in Xinjiang, the western region that last year saw deadly clashes between China’s Han majority and the local Uighur people.
The department said China “continued to repress Uighurs expressing peaceful political dissent and independent Muslim religious leaders,” by trying to associate the predominantly Muslim people with terrorism.
“Uighurs were sentenced to long prison terms, and in some cases executed, on charges of separatism,” the report said.
The State Department took note of China’s release last year of an action plan on human rights, which addresses issues such as prisoners’ rights and the role of religion.
But the department said authorities did not implement the action plan.
Source: Daily Times