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Home » Lahore

Stun batons to enforce Covid SOPs amounts to torture, says HRCP

June 9, 2020

LAHORE: The Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) said on Tuesday that it was shocked to learn that the district administration and local police in Faisalabad had used stun batons to enforce Covid-19-related standard operating procedures (SOPs).

In a statement, HRCP said: “This is in flagrant violation of both Article 14 of the Constitution of Pakistan and the UN Convention Against Torture, to which Pakistan is a state party”.

The HRCP said that the use of stun batons and similar implements clearly carried state endorsement if the police had been equipped with them, even though there was no sanction for this in Pakistani law.

“The practice amounts to torture and the disproportionate use of force – both prohibited under international human rights instruments. Nor is this the first time that law enforcement agencies have used regressive measures to enforce Covid-19-related SOPs: it was common to hear of people being made to assume humiliating positions if suspected of violating the earlier lockdown.”

HRCP said: “The prohibition on torture and cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment is absolute and cannot be justified under any circumstances – including the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic. The crisis must not be tackled at the expense of human rights – this is not an ‘either/or’ situation.”

HRCP strongly urged the Punjab government and Punjab police to investigate this matter and hold to account the officers and district government personnel concerned.

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