The UN will review the human rights situation of Pakistan on 13th November 2017. Ahead of this review IDSN and the Pakistan Dalit Solidarity Network (PDSN) have released a factsheet containing key recommendations, prepared on the basis of IDSN and PDSN’s joint UPR submission submitted to the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights.
The factsheet provides more detailed information on the implementation of the caste relevant recommendations from the 2012 UPR review of issue Pakistan. At this second review Pakistan received the following specific recommendations on caste-based discrimination and the protection of Scheduled Castes:
122.92. Continue its efforts for the improvement of the health system and the elimination of discrimination against women and discrimination on the basis of caste (Holy See).
122.103. Take effective measures to prevent forced or early marriage, in particular with a view to ending rape, sexual exploitation and forced conversions of scheduled caste girls. (Austria).
There were also a number of relevant recommendations on the protection of religious minorities.
Despite expressing a positive commitment and fully accepting these recommendations, the Government has not taken any special measures to address the human rights violations affecting scheduled castes and other marginalised communities in Pakistan.
Therefore, PDSN and IDSN call on states to give priority to the following recommendations:
- The GoP should adopt a law prohibiting discrimination on the basis of caste and take effective and immediate measures to ensure its effective implementation to protect those discriminated against on the basis of caste, as recommended by the CERD.
- The GoP should pass the Criminal Law (Protection of Minorities) Bill 2016 without any delay and adopt it in the other three provinces of Pakistan.
- The GoP should restore the 6% job quota for Scheduled Castes in government services and announce a quota in higher education so the Scheduled Castes can get quality jobs in higher positions.
- The GoP should commit to taking serious measures to strengthen equal access to basic services, with an emphasis on the most marginalised communities, including Scheduled Castes.
- The GoP should make attempts to amend or repeal the blasphemy law that facilitates persecution of religious minorities and legitimizes impunity for perpetrators of violence against religious minorities.
- The GoP should take effective measures to prevent and investigate cases of forced conversions of girls, with an emphasis on the most vulnerable groups such as Scheduled Caste girls.
- Ensure an effective implementation of the Bonded Labour System (Abolition) Act 2015, establish effective district vigilance committees and ensure immediate rehabilitation of the freed bonded labourers so they can get out of bondage.
- The GoP should ensure that Scheduled Caste peasants are given their due share of agricultural productions, so that labourers are not subjected to bonded labour. This can be achieved by making progressive changes in the Tenancy Legislation (especially the Sindh Tenancy Act).