rejoined the Human Rights Council in 2013 and continued to demonstrate a weak
record when engaging on country situations.
2015 Voting Record
Pakistan’s approach to addressing country situations noticeably deteriorated in 2014. It failed to support any resolution put to a vote in 2014 under the Council’s agenda Items 2, 4 and 10. The most visible shift in Pakistan’s voting record resulted in its now consistent abstentions on all resolutions on Syria, despite having supported several of them in previous years. Pakistan continued to oppose the resolution on Sri Lanka, and also played a leading role in taking action against it by presenting a hostile non-action motion aimed at adjourning the vote on the text. It justified this non-action motion by claiming a lack of UN funding available for the inquiry.
Pakistan voted against the resolution on North Korea, in spite of the extreme gravity of the situation in the country. Moreover, Pakistan opposed the resolution renewing the mandate of the Special Rapporteur on Iran and abstained on the resolutions on Belarus and Ukraine. It regrettably endorsed the March 2014 joint declaration put forward by Saudi Arabia that backed the government crackdown in Egypt, despite the massive rights violations it entailed.
Pakistan voted in favor of all resolutions focusing on the human rights situation in Palestine and other occupied Arab territories (OPT), which it tabled on behalf of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation. The contrast between Pakistan’s votes on the resolutions on the OPTs and its votes on all other situations raises serious questions about double standards and selectivity.
The only resolutions Pakistan co-sponsored in 2014 were those that addressed the situation in Palestine and the resolution adopted during the special session on the situation in Iraq. In its rare oral interventions during country-specific debates, Pakistan often praised governments that violate human rights. Exceptions included its critical statements under Item 7 and a powerful statement delivered on behalf of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation in March 2014 on the fate of the Rohingya Muslims in Burma’s Rakhine state.
On a positive note, Pakistan presented a new thematic initiative on the use of armed drones in counter-terrorism and military operations, leading to the convening of a panel discussion in September 2014.
In Pakistan’s explanation of vote on the Sri Lanka resolution in March 2014, it clarified its general opposition to country-specific resolution in principle, because they are “ineffective and counter-productive.” Pakistan stressed the importance of consent of the country concerned, and of the principles of sovereignty and territorial integrity of states. It also invoked the principles of objectivity, non-selectivity and non-politicization as its guiding vision. However, behind positions of principles and procedural arguments, Pakistan primarily rejects the clearly-defined mandate of the Council to address country situations, including those with gross and systematic violations, and to respond promptly to emergencies. With the pretext of addressing politicization and selectivity, Pakistan gives way to other forms of double standards and fails to support accountability for human rights violations committed in many parts of the world.
Pakistan should urgently reconsider its approach, commit to supporting the full implementation of the Council’s mandate, and refrain from expressing support to governments that fail to protect human rights.
Voting record in 2014
Support for key joint statements in 2014
Pakistan did not support a number of initiatives focusing on situations of human rights violations. Pakistan objected to resolutions supporting the extension of the Special Rapporteurs’ mandates on Iran and Belarus. Pakistan also voted against the resolution on accountability in Sri Lanka. Pakistan was not a signatory to the joint statements made expressing concern for the human rights situation in Bahrain.
Pakistan’s approach to the situation in Syria was somewhat different than its treatment of other country situations. It supported some Syria resolutions, but abstained on a resolution that called on Syria to cooperate with the commission of inquiry on Syria. Pakistan did not sign the joint statement calling for the Syrian case to be referred to the ICC.
Despite its poor record on resolutions focused on country situations, Pakistan continued to promote scrutiny of the situation in the Occupied Palestinian Territories in its capacity as coordinator of the Organization of the Islamic Conference. Pakistan voted in favor of all the resolutions focusing on the human rights situation in Palestine and other occupied Arab territories. Pakistan only co-sponsored resolutions adopted under agenda item 7 on Palestine and other occupied Arab territories.
As Organization of Islamic Cooperation chair, Pakistan also raised concerns about human rights violations affecting the Rohingya Muslim community in Burma and attacks against Muslims in general in the country. Pakistan’s action on Burma was instrumental in securing the adoption of a presidential statement urging Burmese authorities to immediately put an end to all acts of violence based on religion and to ensure accountability and end impunity for such abuses.
Pakistan did not intervene in any of the Council's debates on country situations, with the one exception being its response to the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights' update on the situation in Sri Lanka. Pakistan took the floor in defense of Sri Lanka's record and dismissed the Council's resolution on Sri Lanka as the product of a highly-politicized and discriminatory process.
could improve its performance on country-situations in the Council by being
less selective in its support for country-specific action.