News / Asia

    Killings, Abductions Spike in Pakistan Among Journalists, Rights Workers

    Pakistani journalists hold a protest rally and sit-in-protest outside the Parliament to condemn the killing of their colleague, Syed Salim Shahzad, this week after he reported being threatened by intelligence agents, in Islamabad, Pakistan, June 15, 2011
    Pakistani journalists hold a protest rally and sit-in-protest outside the Parliament to condemn the killing of their colleague, Syed Salim Shahzad, this week after he reported being threatened by intelligence agents, in Islamabad, Pakistan, June 15, 2011
    Lisa Schlein

    The office of the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights says it has received numerous reports of abductions, disappearances and extrajudicial killings in Pakistan for years, and those disturbing incidents are on the increase. The U.N. says the principal targets of such crimes are journalists, human-rights defenders and political activists.

    The spokesman for the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights, Rupert Colville, said in the past eight days alone, the U.N. Human Rights Office has received reports of the killing of one journalist in Baluchistan and the disappearance of another journalist in North Waziristan. 

    He says that various journalist groups cite Pakistan as one of the most dangerous places, if not the most dangerous place, for journalists.

    "At least 16 were killed in 2010 and according to the Committee to Protect Journalists, nine journalists have been killed in Pakistan so far in 2011. None of the cases have been fully or satisfactorily investigated," said Colville. "In Baluchistan alone, there were disturbing reports that 25 people - this is a mix of journalists, writers, students and human rights defenders - have been extra-judicially killed within the first four months of 2011.”  

    Notorious cases, such as al-Qaida's kidnapping and brutal murder of Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl, in 2002 are rare. Foreign journalists usually are not targeted. It is the homegrown journalists who are at risk.  

    Colville said the gravity of the risks they run is well documented by the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan. For example, he said, a commission report on Baluchistan reveals 143 cases of disappearances, including journalists, as of May 2011.  

    The same report lists 140 missing persons - journalists among them - found dead in Baluchistan between July 2010 and May 2011. The U.N. official said few, if any, of these crimes' perpetrators have been apprehended and brought to justice.  

    "We would like to see satisfactory investigations to make it clear what is happening. There are lots of rumors, lots of allegations about various cases and who is responsible, etc., and they do not seem to be satisfactorily explained," said Colville. "So I think it is key for everyone, including the authorities in Pakistan, to produce some clarity on what is going on."

    The U.N. Human Rights office that monitors such events says it is gravely concerned that extra-judicial killings, abductions and disappearances are not abating in Pakistan. International human rights monitors are calling for an immediate stop to such violations, and urging Pakistan's government to take immediate steps to independently investigate these cases.



    You May Like

    US Watching as North Korea Opens Biggest Political Meeting in Decades

    As Workers' Party Congress opens, Washington anticipating possibility of another missile launch or nuclear test as top officials gather

    Video Pop Icon Prince Quietly Helped Afghan Orphans for Years

    He sent thousands of dollars to help an aid group rebuild a training center for orphan boy and girl scouts in Kabul, but kept his involvement secret

    Britain’s Muslims See London Mayor Race as Victory

    Mere running of 45-year-old former government minister and son of Pakistani immigrants Sadiq Khan seen by many as turning point

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Donations Rescue Afghan Parents, Children From Forced Labori
    X
    May 05, 2016 6:44 PM
    A Facebook campaign organized by a VOA radio host raised 150,000 Afghan rupees to rescue a family from forced labor at a brick kiln in Nangarhar province – the result of the father’s unpaid debt. Video by a VOA reporter in Jalalabad went viral this week and triggered the Facebook campaign.
    Video

    Video Donations Rescue Afghan Parents, Children From Forced Labor

    A Facebook campaign organized by a VOA radio host raised 150,000 Afghan rupees to rescue a family from forced labor at a brick kiln in Nangarhar province – the result of the father’s unpaid debt. Video by a VOA reporter in Jalalabad went viral this week and triggered the Facebook campaign.
    Video

    Video Kurdish Troops Recount Firefight Which Killed US Navy SEAL

    A U.S. Navy SEAL killed Tuesday, when Islamic State fighters punched through Kurdish lines in northern Iraq, was part of a quick reaction force sent to extract other U.S. troops trapped by the surprise offensive. VOA's Kawa Omar spoke with Kurdish troops in the town of Telskuf -- the scene of what U.S. officials called a "dynamic firefight."
    Video

    Video British Lawmakers Warn EU Exit Talks Could Last A Decade

    Leaving the European Union would mean difficult negotiations that could take years to complete, according to a bipartisan group of British lawmakers. While the group did not recommend a vote either way, the lawmakers noted trade deals between the EU and non-EU states take between four and nine years on average. Henry Ridgwell reports on the mounting debate over whether Britain should stay or exit the EU as the June vote approaches.
    Video

    Video NASA Astronauts Train for Commercial Space Flights

    Since the last Shuttle flight in 2011, the United States has been relying on Russian rockets to launch fresh crews to the International Space Station. But that may change in the next few years. NASA and several private space companies are developing advanced capsules capable of taking humans into low orbit and beyond. As VOA's George Putic reports, astronauts are already training for commercial spacecraft in flight simulators.
    Video

    Video US Worried Political Chaos in Iraq Will Hurt IS Fight

    The White House is expressing concern about rising political chaos in Iraq and the impact it could have on the fight against the Islamic State. The U.S. says Iraq needs a stable, central government to help push back the group. But some say Baghdad may not have a unified government any time soon. VOA's White House correspondent Mary Alice Salinas reports.
    Video

    Video Press Freedom in Myanmar Fragile, Limited

    As Myanmar begins a new era with a democratically elected government, many issues of the past confront the new leadership. Among them is press freedom in a country where journalists have been routinely harassed or jailed.
    Video

    Video Taliban Threats Force Messi Fan to Leave Afghanistan

    A young Afghan boy, who recently received autographed shirts and a football from his soccer hero Lionel Messi, has fled his country due to safety concerns. He and his family are now taking refuge in neighboring Pakistan. VOA's Ayaz Gul reports from Islamabad.
    Video

    Video Major Rubbish Burning Experiment Captures Destructive Greenhouse Gases

    The world’s first test to capture environmentally harmful carbon dioxide gases from the fumes of burning rubbish took place recently in Oslo, Norway. The successful experiment at the city's main incinerator plant, showcased a method for capturing most of the carbon dioxide. VOA’s Deborah Block has more.
    Video

    Video EU Visa Block Threatens To Derail EU-Turkey Migrant Deal

    Turkish citizens could soon benefit from visa-free travel to Europe as part of the recent deal between the EU and Ankara to stem the flow of refugees. In return, Turkey has pledged to keep the migrants on Turkish soil and crack down on those who are smuggling them. Brussels is set to publish its latest progress report Wednesday — but as Henry Ridgwell reports from London, many EU lawmakers are threatening to veto the deal over human rights concerns.
    Video

    Video Tensions Rising Ahead of South China Sea Ruling

    As the Philippines awaits an international arbitration ruling on a challenge to China's claims to nearly all of the South China Sea, it is already becoming clear that regardless of which way the decision goes, the dispute is intensifying. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
    Video

    Video Painting Captures President Lincoln Assassination Aftermath

    A newly restored painting captures the moments following President Abraham Lincoln’s assassination in 1865. It was recently unveiled at Ford’s Theatre in Washington, where America’s 16th president was shot. It is the only known painting by an eyewitness that captures the horror of that fateful night. VOA’s Julie Taboh tells us more about the painting and what it took to restore it to its original condition.
    Video

    Video Displaced By War, Syrian Artist Finds Inspiration Abroad

    Saudi-born Syrian painter Mohammad Zaza is among the millions who fled their home for an uncertain future after Syria's civil war broke out. Since fleeing Syria, Zaza has lived in Lebanon, Egypt, Jordan and now Turkey where his latest exhibition, “Earth is Blue like an Orange,” opened in Istanbul. He spoke with VOA about how being displaced by the Syrian civil war has affected the country's artists.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora