HRCP alarmed over use of stun batons to enforce virus SOPs

By: News Desk      Published: 03:52 PM, 9 Jun, 2020
HRCP alarmed over use of stun batons to enforce virus SOPs

The Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) is shocked to learn that the district administration and local police in Faisalabad have used stun batons to enforce Covid-19-related standard operating procedures (SOPs).

HRCP strongly urged the Punjab government and Punjab police to investigate this matter and hold to account the officers and district government personnel concerned.

This is in flagrant violation of both Article 14 of the Constitution of Pakistan and the UN Convention Against Torture, to which Pakistan is a state party, HRCP said in a statement.  

“The use of stun batons and similar implements clearly carries state endorsement if the police have been equipped with them, even though there is no sanction for this in Pakistani law,” HRCP said.

The statement further read as, “The practice amounts to torture and the disproportionate use of force – both prohibited under international human rights instruments. Nor is this the first time that law enforcement agencies have used regressive measures to enforce Covid-19-related SOPs: it was common to hear of people being made to assume humiliating positions if suspected of violating the earlier lockdown.”

The prohibition on torture and cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment is absolute and cannot be justified under any circumstances – including the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, the rights commission said that.