The crackdown on freedom of expression intensified. The Prevention of Electronic Crimes Act, 2016 was used to intimidate, harass and arbitrarily detain human rights defenders for online comments. Enforced disappearances were widespread; impunity was prevalent. Blasphemy-related violence claimed the life of a student, triggering rare condemnation from the government. Large demonstrations took place in support of blasphemy laws, which were used to convict people expressing opinions online. Journalists were attacked by unidentified assailants. Minorities continued to face discrimination in the enjoyment of economic and social rights. Attempts to restrict child marriage were blocked by Parliament. Killings of women continued in so-called “honour” crimes, despite the 2016 law criminalizing the practice.
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