Oral statement for the adoption of the UPR of Pakistan


On 10 July 2023, the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH) delivered a statement at the 53rd session of the UN Human Rights Council for the adoption of the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) of Pakistan. Read the statement below.

Madam Vice-President,

FIDH and the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan welcome the Pakistani government’s acceptance of 253 of the 340 recommendations they received during Pakistan’s fourth UPR.

We are encouraged by the Pakistani government’s commitment to: address gaps in national legislation relating to the prevention of torture; improve respect for fair trial rights; enhance protection for journalists and human rights defenders; and provide greater protection to religious minorities.

However, since Pakistan’s review, scores of political opponents have been arrested following protests, some of them violent, and now face trials in military courts; some defendants have allegedly been tortured while in custody. These recent actions are in direct contradiction with the government’s pledges, and the recommendations accepted by Pakistan do not commit the state to ending impunity for human rights violations committed by military and intelligence agencies.

We are dismayed by the government’s blanket refusal to accept recommendations relating to the ratification of international conventions, including the International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance, and to ratify the Optional Protocol to the Convention Against Torture. Although the government accepted three recommendations related to ending enforced disappearances, the adoption of a domestic law on enforced disappearances has been further delayed and cases of enforced disappearances continue to be reported.

We are also greatly disappointed by the government’s refusal to accept all but one recommendations related to the death penalty, including on the establishment of an official moratorium and the ratification of the Second Optional Protocol to the ICCPR. This signals an unwillingness to make progress towards the abolition of capital punishment.

Finally, the failure to accept several recommendations relating to the strengthening of laws to combat sexual and gender-based violence, including by criminalising forced marriage and marital rapes, and those relating to the protection of sexual minorities, paint a worrying picture of the government’s commitment to protect its most vulnerable citizens.

We call on the government to implement all recommendations received that are consistent with Pakistan’s obligations under international law.

Thank you.

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