Activists and Members of the UN Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (CESCR) review of Pakistan on 12-13 June 2017, drew attention to the serious human rights violations faced by Dalits in Pakistan. Nonetheless, the Government of Pakistan neglected to adequately acknowledge the issues and failed to outline action to combat it.
Rights activist, Pirbhu Lal Satyani, from Sindh, Pakistan, spoke during the review urging the Government to acknowledge the serious human rights issues faced by Dalits in Pakistan. Mr. Satyani formed part of IDSN’s delegation to the review, representing the Pakistan Dalit Solidarity Network.
He briefed committee members giving a statement on the key issues faced by Dalits in Pakistan, including forced and bonded labour, unacceptable labour conditions, untouchability, kidnappings and forced conversions and discrimination in general. Mr. Satyani urged the Government to put in place and implement legal frameworks that ensure that caste related discrimination is punishable by law.
PDSN and IDSN also submitted an alternative report on caste-based discrimination in Pakistan, in advance of the review.
Members of the review committee, including the Chairman, directly addressed Dalit rights issues – but the Government of Pakistan were weak in their response, failing to acknowledge and outline action to tackle the rights violations faced by Dalits in Pakistan.
“With such clear documentation before them, it is disappointing and disheartening that our Government is not giving any clear commitments to end the injustices suffered by Dalits in Pakistan.” Said Mr. Satyani, after the review.
PDSN and IDSN anticipate that the concerns raised by committee members at the review will be duly reflected in the concluding observations, due to be released next week.
“We are pleased that the concerns over Dalit human rights have been noted and addressed by the UN CESCR Committee Members,” said IDSN Acting Director, Meena Varma. “We hope that given time to reflect on the documentation and serious nature of the violations against Dalits in Pakistan, the Government will take a much more active and solid approach to addressing this issue, rather than the denial of any problems, as was witnessed here.”
Watch the UN web video recordings: