Torture: Govt urged to comply with UN convention

Civil society should ensure that the govt does not falter, says IA Rahman.


Karamat Bhatty October 23, 2011

LAHORE:


Speakers on the concluding day of a three-day roundtable on Torture in Pakistan urged the government on Saturday to ensure that all clauses of the Convention against Torture, to which Pakistan is a signatory, were enforced in the country.


Human Rights activist Hina Jilani said state institutions had so far seen torture as a policy tool. She pointed out several incidents of police torture and said that chances that these would be abandoned in the near future were “very bleak”.

IA Rahman highlighted the role of civil society in ensuring compliance with the convention. He said if the government failed in upholding the convention civil society should hold it accountable.

Austrian human rights lawyer and former UN special rapporteur on torture Dr Manfred Nowak said Pakistan was currently ranked among countries where police torture was common and unchecked. He said governments in Pakistan had not been keen on inviting observers from independent organisations for oversight. He said some reports issued by these organisations were not accepted by the government.

Dr Nowak also highlighted that the UN had a weak follow up system on torture incidents.

Governor Latif Khosa was the chief guest at the opening session.

Absar Alam, AH Nayyer, Dr Sohail, Kamran Arif, Akhter Lalika, Bela Raza Jamil and Tanvir Jahan also spoke on the occasion.

The event was organised by Democratic Commission for Human Development.

Published in The Express Tribune, October 23rd, 2011.

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