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December 5, 2013

Pakistan in top five extreme risk countries

December 5, 2013

LONDON: The number of countries posing an “extreme risk” to human rights has soared by 70% in the past five years with Pakistan taking the fourth position in Asia, according to experts.
UK-based risk analysis company Maplecroft said since 2008, the number of countries posing an extreme risk to the human rights of their populations has risen from 20 to 34 - a 70% rise.The finding comes in the company’s latest annual Human Rights Risk Atlas (HRRA), which analyses the frequency, severity and complicity risk of 31 separate human rights violations in 197 countries.
At the other end of the scale, 41 countries are classified as posing a “low risk” of human rights violations, including the UK which is ranked 165th, while Denmark (191st), Norway (189th), Finland(188th) and Sweden (184th) make Scandinavia the best performing region.Maplecroft said regionally, the Middle East and North Africa (Mena) and Africa account for the majority of the 70% increase in high risk countries.
According to the latest atlas, the highest risk countries in Asia include Pakistan (fourth), Afghanistan (sixth), Burma (eighth), China (15th), Bangladesh (17th) and India (18th).
Maplecroft’s head of societal risk and human rights Lizabeth Campbell said: “Since 2008, global economic growth and investment has shifted to new markets prompting a demand for low-cost workers, water and land as well as other natural resources.
“In these economies, worker’s rights continue to be compromised, rural and indigenous communities face land grabs and forced displacement and repressive or corrupt governments clamp down on freedom of expression to maintain their grip on power and economic control.”
The findings were made public as the plight of Christians in various parts of the world was discussed in the parliament.Sir Tony Baldry, the Tory MP who represents the Church of England in the Commons, said there was a growing concern at the way Christians in Middle Eastern countries

were being treated.
He said with Christmas fast-approaching, there was a severe danger many Christian churches could be erased from the ancient holy land. He called on the British government to do more to protect the rights of Christians in Middle Eastern countries as well as in Pakistan.
Taking part in the debate, Pakistani origin Tory MP Rehman Chishti called on the government of Pakistan to stand up and do the right thing by repealing a bad law - “that bad law is the blasphemy law, and the abuse of that law must be dealt with. It is used to settle disputes between one neighbour and another.”
Mr Chishti said that immediate changes in Pakistan should include not allowing the lower courts to deal with blasphemy cases and appointing specialized prosecutors and specific judges to oversee such cases. There should also be a body in the Ministry of Interior that authorises prosecutions.
The case of Asia Bibi, who was sentenced for death for blasphemy four years ago, was also raised. Mr Chishti said that “the Government of Pakistan under a new president and prime minister have a moral obligation to do the right thing and ensure that Asia Bibi is released and pardoned.”

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