HRCP welcomes ratification of ICCPR, CAT

Lahore, June 07: The Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) has welcomed ratification by Pakistan of the International Covenant of Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) and the Convention Against Torture (CAT), and demanded that the generalized reservations Islamabad has made with regard to the two treaties must not undermine the ratification itself. In a statement issued on Monday, HRCP said: “The ICCPR and CAT are two of the key international human rights treaties and their ratification by Pakistan is welcome news and a good first step in the right direction. However, ratification of any treaty is only as significant or effective as the will of the ratifying state to implement it. Pakistan must now take meaningful steps to make sure that all rights provided under the two treaties are made enforceable domestically and that the laws and practices in the country are changed accordingly. Torture is widespread in Pakistan, with police and security agencies the most frequent offenders. In line with the provisions of CAT, the government must give a fair and enforceable right of compensation to all victims of torture in Pakistan.

Pakistan has made a number of reservations in the instruments of ratification, including ‘reservations protecting national rights relating to…anything repugnant to the provisions of the Constitution of Pakistan’. HRCP had wished that the ratifications would demonstrate Pakistan’s absolute commitment to human rights and would be without reservations. The Commission is concerned that subjecting the ratifications to generalized and sweeping exceptions and reservations could defeat the purpose of ratification.”

by: Asma Jahangir Chairperson Chairperson