LONDON: Pakistan in top five countries that pose a great risk to human rights.
Alarmingly, the overall figure of countries posing an “extreme risk” to human rights has swelled up to 70% in the past five years with Pakistan clinching the fourth position in Asia, according to the experts.
Maplecroft -UK based risk analysis company stated:”Since 2008, the number of countries posing an extreme risk to the human rights of their populations has risen from 20 to 34 – a 70% rise.” This fact was publicized in the company’s latest annual Human Rights Risk Atlas (HRRA), which explored: rate of recurrence, severity and involvement risk of 31 separate human rights violations in 197 countries. At the other end of the scale, 41 countries are classified as posing a low risk of human rights violations, including the UK which is ranked 165th, while Denmark (191st), Norway (189th), Finland(188th) and Sweden (184th) make Scandinavia the best performing region. Maplecroft stated,”Regionally, the Middle East and North Africa and Africa account for the majority of the 70% increase in high risk countries.” According to the up-to-the-minute atlas: the highest risk countries in Asia include Pakistan (fourth), Afghanistan (sixth), Burma (eighth), China (15th), Bangladesh (17th) and India (18th).
Lizabeth Campbell-Maplecroft’s head of societal risk and human rights said: “Since 2008, global economic growth and investment has shifted to new markets prompting a demand for low-cost workers, water and land as well as other natural resources. In these economies, worker’s rights continue to be compromised, rural and indigenous communities face land grabs and forced displacement and repressive or corrupt governments clamp down on freedom of expression to maintain their grip on power and economic control.”
The company asserts that the findings were publicized as the dilemma of Christians in various parts of the world came under discussion in the British parliament. Sir Tony Baldry, the Tory MP representative of the Church of England in the Commons said: ”There was a growing concern at the way Christians in Middle Eastern countries were being treated.” He said,”With Christmas fast-approaching, there was a severe danger many ChristianChurches could be erased from the ancient holy land. He called on the British government to do more to protect the rights of Christians in Middle Eastern countries as well as in Pakistan.”
While a Pakistani origin Tory MP Rehman Chishti , called on the government of Pakistan to resist and repeal the controversial law saying: “that bad law is the blasphemy law, and the abuse of that law must be dealt with. It is used to settle disputes between one neighbour and another.” Mr Chishti continued:” Immediate changes in Pakistan should include not allowing the lower courts to deal with blasphemy cases and appointing specialized prosecutors and specific judges to oversee such cases. There should also be a body in the Ministry of Interior that authorises prosecutions.”
While pointing out to the case of Asia Bibi, a Pakistani Christian woman who was sentenced to death for blasphemy four years ago Mr Chishti said: “The Government of Pakistan under a new President and Prime Minister have a moral obligation to do the right thing and ensure that Asia Bibi is released and pardoned.”