Pakistan Country Guide

The Pakistan Country Guide was produced by the Danish Institute for Human Rights (DIHR) and the Pakistan Institute of Labour Education and Research (PILER).

The Country Guide is a compilation of publicly available information from international institutions, local NGOs, governmental agencies, businesses, media and universities, among others. International and domestic sources are identified on the basis of their expertise and relevance to the Pakistani context, as well as their timeliness and impartiality.

The initial survey of publicly available, international sources was carried out by DIHR from October to December 2014. The draft was then updated and localized by PILER, including stakeholder consultation, from January to March 2015.

The completed Country Guide aims to provide a comprehensive overview, on the basis of the information available, of the ways in which companies do or may impact human rights in Pakistan. The current Country Guide is not meant as an end product, or a final determination of country conditions. It is intended to be the basis, and the beginning, of a process of dissemination, uptake and modification.

DIHR and PILER seek further engagement with local stakeholders, and intend to update the Country Guide on that basis.

Read the Pakistan Country Guide here

Read the full Country Guide here

News Feed

Pakistan: 10 labourers shot dead near China 'Belt and Road' project

13 May 2017 — Ten labourers were gunned down in southwestern Pakistan on Saturday while working on link roads to connect outlying towns to the country's $57-billion Chinese "Belt and Road" initiative, security officials confirmed. The attack on the Pakistani labourers took place some 20 kilometers from the emerging port city of Gwadar in Baluchistan province that forms the southern hub of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC)...No group has admitted responsibility for the shootings but past attacks in the region have been carried out by separatists who view construction projects as a means to take over their land.

Pakistan: Bank Information Center publishes report on social & environmental impacts of AIIB-funded Tarbela 5 hydropower extension

25 Apr 2017 — "The Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank and the Tarbela 5 hydropower extension project, Pakistan", Apr 2017 The Tarbela 5 hydropower extension project in Pakistan is one of the first investments made by… Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB)…Project documents point out the benefits: “The Project will provide a low cost, clean, renewable energy option in a relatively short period of time…But a deeper look at Tarbela 5 shows a landscape and community that have suffered extreme harms that have not yet been righted. Tens of thousands of people were displaced in the 1970s and 1990s by two mega hydropower projects, Tarbela and Gazi Brarotha…To this day many thousands of families remain impoverished and are still seeking fair compensation and redress for their losses. The AIIB has recognised this and has committed that its $300 million investment in Tarbela 5 will not only contribute to the new construction, but also address “social legacy issues” from the previous projects . Like its co-investor, the World Bank, the AIIB classifies Tarbela 5 as high risk, or Category A. The Tarbela 5 project presents a significant challenge to the new bank. It is a hands-on opportunity for the AIIB to learn from the mistakes of the past and right the many existing wrongs of previous projects. It is also a test of the AIIB’s environmental and social safeguards…

Corporate Legal Accountability Annual Briefing - Corporate impunity is common & remedy for victims is rare

20 Apr 2017 — This year’s Annual Briefing highlights the rising impunity of companies’ involvement in human rights abuse...Unscrupulous companies are increasingly targeting activists, using the justice system to hold them accountable, with repression and lawsuits.  Individual companies and governments may win these cases but the costs are high to wider society, including to a business environment built on respect for open societies, civic space, human rights and the rule of law. It is a vicious circle; growing impunity sees unscrupulous companies emboldened to pursue profit at any cost, even targeting their critics, and attacks on advocates and lawyers chill efforts to hold companies accountable, driving impunity.  Fortunately, a few governments and companies have taken steps and some courts have issued decisions that can break this cycle, and deserve to be learned from and built on.  Leading global experts, including at the United Nations, have identified additional practical measures that would increase victims’ access to remedy and counter impunity. This Annual Briefing has two key sections: The impunity of unscrupulous companies regarding human rights abuses is increasing   Opportunities to tackle impunity are emerging We conclude with recommendations for governments, which have a critical role in protecting human rights defenders and advocates, and for companies and their lawyers.

Human Rights Council renews mandate of Special Rapporteur on Human Rights Defenders; affirms defenders must be protected by state & non-state actors

24 Mar 2017 — "HRC34 | Council unites to stand with human rights defenders", 23 Mar 2017 The UN Human Rights Council – the world’s peak human rights body – has today adopted a resolution which affirms the vital and legitimate work of human rights defenders and extends the mandate of a UN expert tasked to support and protect them. The resolution, led by Norway and strongly supported by a coalition of leading NGOs and human rights experts, was adopted by consensus and without amendment after attempts to weaken it by States including Russia, China, Cuba and Pakistan were soundly defeated. 'Through this resolution the Council has sent an important signal that human rights work is legitimate, and that human rights defenders must be respected and protected by States and non-state actors,' said ISHR’s Director of Human Rights Council Advocacy, Michael Ineichen. The renewal of the mandate of the UN Special Rapporteur, Michel Forst, comes at a vital time. In his most recent report, the Special Rapporteur compiled disturbing evidence that human rights defenders are under 'unprecedented attack', including 'increasing killings'.

El G-20 debe garantizar que las inversiones de infraestructura sean seguras & sostenibles, dice Alto Comisionado de la ONU para los Derechos Humanos

10 Mar 2017 — "Reduciendo el riesgo de la infraestructura para las personas", 5 Mar 2017 Hace poco más de un año, el 2 de marzo del 2016, nos despertó la impactante noticia del asesinato en Honduras de Berta Cáceres, ganadora del Premio Ambiental Goldman en el 2015, en respuesta a su campaña para detener la construcción de la represa hidroeléctrica de Agua Zarca…La señora Cáceres había recibido más de 30 amenazas de muerte. Los financiadores…de Agua Zarca suspendieron los préstamos. Sin embargo, las amenazas a aquellos que se oponen al desarrollo de los proyectos nunca han sido tan intensas. Además de los asesinatos, las herramientas…incluyen interferencias en asambleas pacíficas, medidas drásticas en contra de organizaciones no gubernamentales,… detenciones arbitrarias,… [L]os ministros de economía…del G-20 han estado trabajando para aumentar la inversión global en mega proyectos de infraestructura… La infraestructura…es vital para la realización de…derechos humanos…sí como para el crecimiento económico…[E]l crecimiento genera recursos…para las inversiones en las personas y el medio ambiente…En el mundo machista de la mega-infraestructura, el éxito se mide por el tamaño y la velocidad…[E]l presidente del Banco Asiático de Inversiones en Infraestructura ha descrito a las personas que se resisten al reasentamiento forzoso como “irracionales”... La posibilidad del reasentamiento siguiendo las normas internacionales en derechos humanos parece ajena a esta visión del mundo. El G20 y las instituciones de financiamiento…deben corregir este curso urgentemente. Es hora de levantar el velo de los planes de infraestructura regionales y nacionales y [de] una agenda de inversión de infraestructura sea segura y sostenible.

G20 must ensure safe & sustainable infrastructure investment agenda, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights says

10 Mar 2017 — "Human rights trampled in push to build infrastructure", 3 Mar 2017 One year ago, we awoke to the shocking news of the murder in Honduras of Berta Cáceres, recipient of the 2015 Goldman environmental prize, in response to her campaign to stop the Agua Zarca...dam. Cáceres had received more than 30 death threats...Foreign backers of the...dam...suspended lending. But threats to those opposing development projects have never been higher...In addition to murder, the tools of repression include curbs on peaceful assembly, clampdowns on non-governmental organizations, attacks on independent media, draconian anti-terror laws, state-sponsored vilification,...[F]inance ministers of...G20...have been working to increase global investment in mega-infrastructure projects... vital for the realisation of many human rights...and for economic growth. Growth, in turn, generates resources which can be harnessed for investments in people and the environment. But [these]...plans are laden with un-assessed human rights risk... In the macho world of mega-infrastructure, success is measured by size and speed, breeding the denial of human rights rather than due diligence... [T]he...narrative seems to be that you need to break a few eggs to make an omelette. [T]he president of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank has reportedly described people resisting forced resettlement as “irrational”...The possibility of human-rights-compliant resettlement seems irrelevant to this world view. The G20 and development financing institutions must urgently correct the course. It is time to lift the veil on regional and national infrastructure plans...[and] for a safe [and] sustainable infrastructure investment agenda.

Pakistan: Villagers protest govt. plans to mine untapped coal reserves citing pollution & access to ancestral lands

1 Mar 2017 — "Pakistan races to tap virgin coal fields to meet energy crunch", 27 Feb 2017 [An] open coal pit…has been dug in the Thar Desert in Pakistan's southern Sindh province [and] below [it] lies one of the world's largest coal reserves, untapped until now. For years Pakistan used its Thar coal reserves as a bargaining chip in global climate negotiations. Since it was not mining the coal, it argued, it should receive easier access to international climate finance and to clean technology...But as part of its attempt to end the country's energy crisis which has caused frequent power cuts for years, the government is encouraging mining companies to the area…[and] the coal mine is set to become Pakistan's biggest industrial site…They are also now building a 660 megawatt coal power plant nearby…Under the Paris climate agreement, countries are meant to be shifting to clean, sustainable energy as part of global attempts to curb greenhouse gas emissions and prevent the worst impacts of climate change...For the past three months villagers near the mine have been protesting SECMC's mining plans, saying the project will pollute their water and threaten their ancestral lands…The villagers have filed a case in the Sindh High Court and applied for a stay order to block the reservoir's construction...

Afghanistan et Pakistan : Imerys accusée de s’approvisionner en talc dans des zones de conflit où opèrent des groupes terroristes ; avec une déclaration de l’entreprise

20 Feb 2017

Pakistan: 6 dead, 30 injured in factory fire

17 Feb 2017 — Death toll in the motorbike spare parts manufacturing unit fire incident reached four of the injured labourers succumbed to their burns....a fire had erupted in Al-Badar Engineering factory situated at Lahore Road as a result of which one of the workers, Amjad, died on the spot while 30 others sustained burns and were shifted to Lahore....On the direction of the chief minister, Factory Area police have registered a case against owner Mushtaq without any arrest so far...According to the labour union, the factory is not equipped with fire-fighting equipment. Further investigation is under way.

BSI Group develops index on addressing trafficking & modern slavery risks in supply chains

6 Feb 2017 — “Supply Chain Slavery Index Identifies High-Risk Countries in Fashion Supply Chains”, 1 February 2017 The fashion industry is in the midst of a revolution, with more and more companies ramping up efforts to clean up their supply chains, eliminate polluting practices from manufacturing and imbed circular principles into their business models…Despite these efforts and achievements, the industry is still plagued by environmental and ethical issues, but tools such as BSI Group’s Trafficking & Supply Chain Slavery Patterns Index offer a new way for businesses and organizations to identify and address human rights abuses in their supply chains. The Index is unique in cross-referencing source countries of displaced people, and their likelihood of being exploited in destination countries…[and] provides a broad understanding of the…threats to global supply chains. These include human rights abuses, security threats and business continuity risks. The information presented…allows organizations…to make informed decisions about sourcing products and materials, as well as how to engage suppliers to drive continuous improvement in supporting worker needs throughout the supply chains… [Refers to: H&M, Kering]