Custodial torture eroding rule of law
ISLAMABAD: Human rights organisations on Monday demanded the government to honour international commitments against torture and begin a national reform process to ensure implementation of laws framed to check it.
Parliamentarians Commission for Human Rights (PCHR) Chief Coordinator Chaudhry Shafiq, speaking at a press conference, said systematic and widespread prevalence of torture was seriously affecting rule of law in the country. He particularly mentioned Khrotabad case, Karachi incident, Rangers killing.
He said in June 2010, Pakistan ratified the UN Convention against torture and other cruel inhuman or degrading treatment or punishments and the convention states that state must take effective legislative, administrative, judicial or other measures to prevent acts of torture in any territory under its jurisdiction.
Dr. Noreen Khalid, Project Manager, Girls Education and Ending Violence against Women said, “One year has passed since ratification however there are no visible efforts on any level to give true effect to ratification of the convention against torture.”
She said, “Mere ratification of these instruments will not be sufficient to put an end to the use of torture as this practice is deeply entrenched in the policing system and in whole law-enforcing system.”
Oxfam in collaboration with Parliamentarians Commission for Human Rights and backed by European Commission (EC) will begin a long-term project to prepare a national implementation strategy for the convention, she said.
The national strategic plan will aim at identifying existing gaps in laws and policies related to torture as well as sensitizing and educating key stakeholders, she said.
As a first step, a national consultation will be held next month bringing together civil society organisations, government and human rights groups to draw up a broad framework and bring wider discussions on the mechanism adopted by Pakistan to perform its obligations under the UN Convention including lack of technical capabilities to bring about key practical changes, is major reason for non-compliance of the convention, she said.