LAHORE - The Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) has called  for taking measures to implement the United Nations Convention against Torture (UNCAT)—to which Pakistan is a signatory.

HRCP and members of the civil society also held protest outside Lahore Press Club. In a statement issued on the International Day in Support of Victims of Torture, HRCP has reiterated its disappointment at the fact that ‘Pakistan has yet to define and criminalize custodial torture in compliance with UNCAT, and to make remedies and reparations available to victims of torture.

 ‘As members of civil society, we must re-initiate the social debate and political discourse on the importance of eradicating and prohibiting torture under all circumstances to refute the general belief that it is an admissible and effective means of interrogation or punishment.

“Law enforcement agencies also need greater support in terms of training, resources and access to modern, scientific methods of investigation to replace the prevailing culture in which the means are seen to justify the end. At the same time, there must be a system of democratic accountability for state personnel involved in torture.

 ‘We strongly urge the state to revisit the Torture, Custodial Death and Custodial Rape (Prevention and Punishment) bill passed by the Senate in 2015 – which was, regrettably, allowed to lapse – and to ratify the Optional Protocol to UNCAT and establish a corresponding national preventative mechanism.

“The right to protection against cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment applies in all circumstances, with no exceptions whatsoever. This is fundamental to what it means to be a civilized state.”