Human Rights

Here, at Zeph Center, we give every women and child a voice and a safe place to speak.

Shot twice, stuffed in a sack and dumped in a canal… but Pakistani girl, 18, SURVIVES botched ‘honor killing’ carried out by her own family for marrying the man she loved

  • Saba Maqsood, 18, was attacked by her father, uncle, brother and aunt
  • She managed to struggle to the canal bank where she was helped
  • It comes just a week after a broad daylight honour killing in Lahore

Children get beat in most schools in Pakistan for even asking questions...or for no reason at all

This little boy seen here with Sister Zeph was hanged upside down on a ceiling fan in his previous school and beaten with metal pipes. This is why Sister Zeph decided that it was best to keep little boys in her school until they reach 5th standard (5th grade) so they can have the best foundation possible without any beatings or harsh punishment.

Sister Zeph talks to a boy who has been beaten in another school for not getting high enough marks. This is common in Pakistan. This is why Sister Zeph started her own school.

LAHORE: Most teachers and parents, at least those in low-income households, support corporal punishment in the classroom, despite the practice being banned in government schools since 2005 in the Punjab, according to a new study.

Asked if they agreed with the statement that a small amount of physical punishment is necessary for most children, some 20% of teachers said they ‘fully agreed’ and 47% said they ‘partially agreed’. Parents (and other family members of students) were even more supportive of corporal punishment, with 41% fully agreeing and 38% partially agreeing with the statement.

Common Humans Rights Abuses

Amnesty International has long been concerned about the persistent pattern human rights violations occurring in Pakistan. Arbitrary detention, torture, deaths in custody, forced disappearances, and extrajudicial execution are rampant. The government of Pakistan has failed to protect individuals – particularly women, religious minorities and children – from violence and other human rights abuses committed in the home, in the community, and while in legal custody. It has failed to ensure legal redress after violations have occurred. In addition, Pakistan continues to impose the death penalty on persons convicted of crimes.

Since 9-11, individuals suspected of having links with “terrorist” organizations have been arbitrarily detained, denied access to lawyers, and turned over to U.S. custody or to the custody of their home country in violation of local and international law.

Recent military operations in North West Frontier Province, the Swat Valley and Waziristan, have resulted in the death and injury of civilians and the displacement of over two million people.

Armed groups, including Pakistani Taleban have committed serious human rights abuses, including direct attacks on civilians, abduction, and hostage-taking, torture, and killings. Women and girls are frequent targets of abuse.

Women’s and Girls’ Rights

Child marriage remains a serious concern in Pakistan, with 21 percent of girls marrying before the age of 18. In January 2016, a proposal submitted to parliament by WHOM aimed to raise the legal minimum age to 18 for females and introduce harsher penalties for those who arrange child marriage. However, on January 14, 2016, the proposal was withdrawn following strong pressure from the Council of Islamic Ideology, a body that advises the parliament on Islamic law. The council criticized the proposal as “anti-Islamic” and “blasphemous.”

Violence against women and girls—including rape, murder through so-called honor killings, acid attacks, domestic violence, and forced marriage—remained routine. Pakistani human rights NGOs estimate that there are about 1,000 “honor killings” every year.

The government continued to fail to address forced conversions of women belonging to Hindu and Christian communities.

In June, Zeenat Rafiq, 18, was burned to death in Lahore by her mother for “bringing shame to the family” by marrying a man of her choosing. In May, family members tortured and burned to death a 19-year-old school teacher in Murree, Punjab, for refusing an arranged marriage. In May, the body of Amber, 16, was found inside a vehicle that had been set on fire in Abbottabad, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, after a jirga, or traditional assembly of elders, ordered her death for helping her friend marry of her own choice. In July, Qandeel Baloch, a well-known Pakistani model was killed by her brother in a so-called honor killing.

Pakistani law allows the family of a murder victim to pardon the perpetrator. This practice is often used in cases of “honor” killings, where the victim and perpetrator frequently belong to the same family, in order to evade prosecution. The 2004 Criminal Law (Amendment) Act made “honor killings” a criminal offense, but the law remains poorly enforced. An anti-honor killing bill seeking to eliminate the option of murder committed in the name of “honor” to be “forgiven” was passed by the parliament in October.

Children’s Rights

Use of child suicide bombers by the Taliban and other armed groups continued in 2016.

In May, the United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child concluded its review of Pakistan and expressed concern about a number of issues affecting children including executions, the impact of sectarian violence and terrorism, and alleged torture and ill-treatment in police custody.