UK flags concern over rights abuse in Pakistan, cool on India

India used to figure prominently in previous such reports on the issue of attacks against woman, the rights of children and corruption. The report for 2018 released on Thursday makes few references to India.

: Jun 08, 2019

Prasun Sonwalkar
London

Persecution of Hindu and Sikh minorities in Pakistan is among major concerns expressed in Britain’s annual report on human rights and democracy, which continues the trend in recent years of making passing references to India. (Photo by Sameer Sehgal/Hindustan Times)(HT Photo/Representative Image)

Persecution of Hindu and Sikh minorities in Pakistan is among major concerns expressed in Britain’s annual report on human rights and democracy, which continues the trend in recent years of making passing references to India.

India used to figure prominently in previous such reports on the issue of attacks against woman, the rights of children and corruption. The report for 2018 released on Thursday makes few references to India.

It notes that the UK supported a project with Sheffield Hallam University to improve access to justice for female victims of violence in India, training 164 officers in four states, and added that 2,000 Dalit women have been trained on legal rights, creating the first ever network of women Dalit human rights defenders.

Eight Indian police officers visited the UK for training on the protection of women and girls against violence, and the UK contributed £20 million to the Global Fund to End Modern Slavery, which will be working in India and Bangladesh, the report says.

Retaining Pakistan among 30 ‘human rights priority countries’, the report says the main concerns were restrictions on freedom of expression and on civil society, intolerance towards and discrimination against members of religious and other minorities, failure to uphold women and children’s rights, the prevalence of bonded labour, and the continued imposition and use of the death penalty.

It says: “Allegations of discrimination and violence against members of religious minorities continued, especially against Ahmadiyya Muslims and Christians, but also against Hindus, Sikhs and Shia Muslims. Misuse of the blasphemy laws was frequent”.

“There were recurrent reports of forced conversions to Islam and forced marriages to Muslim men of Hindu and Christian women…(Discrimination) and violence against women and girls remained common…Modern slavery, including bonded and child labour, continued to be a major problem”.

The report also mentions attacks against Sikh and Hindu communities in Afghanistan.

Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt said: “(The) report makes for sobering reading. Respect for human rights globally seems to be at an all-time low…In particular, I am deeply concerned that 2018 saw the murder of 99 journalists around the world”.

“A free press is essential to open societies. I believe the UK, alongside all democratic countries, must protect the freedom and safety of those who must be able to hold the powerful to account, without fear of retribution”.

SOURCE:

https://www.hindustantimes.com/world-news/uk-flags-concern-over-rights-in-pakistan-cool-on-india/story-N21rogPJLMGZjSL85otJIP.html

 

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