Pakistan: Government breaks its own laws in 'War On Terrorism'

Amnesty International's 35-page report, 'Pakistan: Transfers to US custody without human rights guarantees', shows that Pakistani and non-Pakistani nationals have been arbitrarily arrested on suspicion of membership of al-Qa'ida and the Taleban, while an unknown number have been deported to the US and other countries without human rights guarantees.

Amnesty International said:

'The rule of law has been swept aside. Detainees have not been treated in accordance with either Pakistani or international law. Human rights protection has been thrown out the window.

Who has been held and where, is unknown. Detainees have been cut off from family and lawyers and there have been no official notices. Media coverage has been at best scant and anecdotal.'

Some foreigners have been handed over to their country of origin even though they are likely to face human rights violations there. These have included two ethnic Uighurs from China, even though, following September 11, in the name of countering 'terrorism' the Chinese government has stepped up its harsh repression of ethnic Uighur opponents of Chinese rule and others branded as 'separatists'.

Amnesty International's report describes the context in which arrests and arbitrary transfers to US custody have taken place and sets out recommendations.

The human rights organisation is urging the Pakistani government to uphold its own law, to abide by internationally agreed standards of human rights protection, and not to deport people to countries where they may face the death penalty or other human rights violations.

'Pakistan is one of many countries that has been sacrificing human rights in the name of security since September 11. There should be no compromise between security and human rights because you cannot have one without the other.'

The full report will be available from 20 June 2002 at: www.amnesty.org

For further information on global human rights and the reaction to September 11, see: http://web.amnesty.org/web/ar2002.nsf /p>

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