*ISLAMABAD: *Pakistan has officially ‘noted’ a recommendation made during the third Universal Periodic Review (UPR) which suggest repealing laws barring adultery and non-marital consensual sex, Tribune has reported.
It has also noted, among hundreds of other recommendations, others which suggest decriminalising such activities, and ensuring punishment for all perpetrators of violence against participants and those who may call for such violence, including members and leaders of jirgas.
The UPR recommendations-2017 –copies of which are available with The Express Tribune and online at the UPR’s website, show that the first recommendation was given by Canada, and the second by Czechia (formerly the Czech Republic). ‘Noted’ – Pakistan’s response – means that the country will consider this recommendation and take a final decision on either accepting or rejecting it at a later time, officials explained.
An official working closely with the Ministry of Human Rights confirmed that the recommendation was officially ‘noted’. “Pakistan adopted the third cycle of UPR last month. The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) will issue the official document in coming days,” they said, adding that the document which is publically available was issued after Pakistan’s review in November 2017.
The UPR was introduced by the United Nations General Assembly in 2006 and involves a unique process of periodic review of human rights records of all UN member states. The process lets states quantify steps needed for improvement in human rights situations around the globe.
In 2008, Pakistan received 51 recommendations, of which it accepted 43 and rejected eight. These eight pertained to the decriminalisation of defamation and non-marital sexual relations, ending abuse of blasphemy laws, legal reforms to ensure punishments in ‘honour killings’ and the abolition of the death penalty.
Many of these were also either noted or accepted in the most recent UPR.