Stories about Human Rights Watch

Police brutality: Should we now fear the very people sworn to protect us?

While being tortured by the police, Salahuddin Ayubi asked his tormentors, “Who taught you these torture techniques?” Ayubi, who had been arrested for stealing money from an ATM machine, died in police custody two days after his arrest. Unfortunately, this case of police brutality is not an isolated incident. Pakistan has seen a troubling rise in the number of people who are not only subjected to police brutality, but also die as a result. With little to no action taken against these individuals and only muffled public condemnation, the police continue to carry out these practices with complete impunity. But will ...

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The Qandeel Baloch story: Using the law of forgiveness as a license to kill

In some surreal news, Qandeel Baloch’s parents have taken steps to essentially cancel her case. Should they be successful, Qandeel’s story will most likely take the same disappointing direction as those of countless other innocent women who fell victim to a deafening patriarchy. According to an affidavit filed with the Multan courts, Qandeel’s parents have asked the court to not only dismiss the murder charges against their sons, Waseem and Aslam Shaheen, but have also requested to the court to wrap up the case as soon as possible. This is because not only have they forgiven him, but they also believe ...

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The deepening crisis: child rights in a negative society

On July 17th every year, we celebrate the ‘World Day on International Justice’. Over 120 countries adopted this statute at the International Criminal Court (ICC) in Rome, creating a permanent international court to task criminals. The anniversary is for taking a day out to reflect on the successes and challenges of bringing justice and countering violence. The recent United Nations (UN) casualty report has greatly undermined the gravity of the deepening crisis clearly demonstrating undue favouritism to certain countries that have been accused of the violation of child rights. One of the biggest casualty counts is the Yemen crisis, led by Saudi Arabia ...

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Human Rights Day: What will you ‘celebrate’, Pakistan?

Every year, December 10th is marked as the Human Rights Day. On this day in 1948, the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, a document that lists down basic human rights guaranteed to the population of the world. This year marks the 70th anniversary of this resolution. It is important to note that sustainable growth is not achievable until and unless the human rights of the world are protected. Besides commemorating 70 years of the resolution, we should vow to stand for the civil, economic, political and cultural rights of our people; after all, ...

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The Handmaid’s Tale is a form of activism and we love it!

The Handmaid’s Tale is a harrowing TV series set in Gilead, an oppressive totalitarian society where women, referred to as ‘handmaids’,  are not allowed to vote, to hold jobs, to read, or own property.  Their role is reduced to that of a child-bearer, and any form of retaliation against the regime is punishable by death.  The storyline is an exaggerated take on patriarchal societies in the developed world; nevertheless it rings close to the truth for regimes around the world. The story highlights the way in which totalitarian states have been able to oppress minorities and reprimand dissidents of the regime. Gilead, ...

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The strange myth of America’s ‘humanitarian’ wars

In March 2009, Human Rights Watch (HRW) published a forgetful 71-page report, calling out Israel’s indiscriminate use of white phosphorus in densely populated civilian areas in Gaza. No rhetoric of bringing the oppressor to justice was heard within the American halls of power, and no tomahawk missiles were launched the following week. The perversity of President Bashar al-Assad’s war crimes speaks for itself. It’s fair to assume that if Assad’s regime had been backed by powerful western interests, the latest unwatchable video of Syrian children suffering from the effects of chemical warfare would have invited the same response as Israel’s hawkish policies consistently do – Assad ...

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Imran Khan hasn’t carried balls since he stopped playing cricket

(Author’s note: Blog and blog title refer to cricket balls only. Puns not intended). Here we go. Another day, another Imran Khan statement reflecting a worryingly right-wing mind-set. This much is clear: Like the countless who voted for Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf (PTI) in the last General Elections, I shall not be voting for a political party that is full of so much hot air it should be floating around the world, that holds a country hostage through street politics, that is both outsmarted and manipulated, that consistently panders to the single biggest threat in the history of this country: the religious preachers. There is a ...

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Protecting women is now an act of treason, CII? Really?

Pakistan’s efforts of six years at gender equality reached a fever pitch in the past two weeks. Late February the Punjab Assembly passed its Protection of Women Against Violence Bill 2015. Then last week Sharmeen Obaid Chinoy brought home her second Oscar for Girl in the River: The Price of Forgiveness, a documentary highlighting the horrors of honour killing. Following an at-home screening of the film, the PM’s office took the unprecedented and impressive step of promising law reform. In response, several prominent clerics openly opposed and ridiculed the new law suggesting that not only was the new law against the spirit of Shariah but what is really needed is a ...

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Did North Korea really execute its army chief of staff?

Out of the deafening silence of North Korea’s state-run media and soundproofed borders, emerge stories that go viral and take on mythological proportions. In the 18th century, when technology was not yet sufficient enough to deliver news swiftly across far distances, tales of distant lands would change hands amidst the chatter of travellers in the marketplace and taverns. Similarly, stories coming out of North Korea rely largely on hearsay and speculation. Or on the media of its neighbouring countries, which somehow, based solely on proximity, are able to decipher information. The echoes of distant screams in North Korea are reflected through the media ...

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UAE’s National Day: Why are we celebrating a place like Dubai?

United Arab Emirates (UAE) recently celebrated its 44th National Day on December 2, 2015.  As expected, Pakistanis residing in the UAE took part in celebrations too. Pakistan’s fascination with Dubai, is not uncommon, or hard to understand. Dubai has always been positioned to be Middle East’s answer to the West’s glitz and glamour –skyscrapers galore, an economy that is home to global brands, and jobs that apparently promise a life from rags to riches – all in the pseudo comfort of supposedly Islamic settings. To the religious-minded, it offers Shariah Law and the comfort of being next door to Saudi Arabia, the self-proclaimed centre ...

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