As widespread human rights violations and harassment of opposition candidates intensifies before Pakistan’s general election on 18 February, Amnesty International calls on all political parties participating in the general elections to commit to ratifying and implementing key international treaties to bring an end to decades of endemic violence and disregard for human rights.
“The run up to the elections have seen a dramatic increase in violence with attacks on election meetings of political parties and candidates being shot at. The opposition parties, including the Pakistan People’s Party and Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz, which have strongly condemned President Musharraf’s abuse of power, now have an opportunity to play a role in protecting human rights in law and practice. Amnesty International calls on all parties competing in the general elections to firmly commit themselves to Amnesty International’s 12-point plan for human rights in Pakistan,” said Catherine Baber, Director of Amnesty International’s Asia Pacific programme.
“Human rights are not a one-way street: while political parties ask for protection of their human rights, Amnesty International urges them to extend that same protection to others should they win a place in parliament. Ratification and implementation of human rights treaties is key to maintaining rule of law and good governance – and critical in preventing the misuse of the constitution, the subversion of the independence of the judiciary and the locking up of lawyers and human rights defenders,” she said.
“Successive governments in Pakistan’s history have been responsible for serious human rights violations. The political parties in Pakistan now have an opportunity to bring this cycle of abuse to an end,” said Baber.
Amnesty International urges all political parties contesting the elections in Pakistan to make a clear and unequivocal commitment to ratify the following international human rights treaties should they win seats:The International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights The International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights United Nations Convention Against Torture
The Pakistan authorities and the opposition parties should also ensure that the following treaties that the country has already ratified are fully implemented:UN Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women Convention on the Rights of the Child
“These treaties should be ratified without further delay to comprehensively protect all human rights and to give substance to commitments made when Pakistan was elected to the Human Rights Council,” said Baber.
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