Human Rights Council – 53rd Session
Outcome of the Universal Periodic Review- Pakistan
Thank you President,
The Federation makes this statement on behalf of Hi Voices, the Pact, and the Sexual Rights Initiative.
We welcome Pakistan’s acceptance of all recommendations on the right to education which underpins the realisation of other rights including freedom of expression and information and the right to health. Currently, 29% of Pakistan’s youth are illiterate, and only six percent have more than 12 years of education.
We regret that Pakistan did not receive any recommendations on its HIV/AIDS response, as Pakistan has one of the highest rates of new HIV infection in South Asia. Only 12% of people living with HIV can access treatment, and the public healthcare delivery system faces uneven distribution of health professionals among provinces and towns, a deficient workforce, insufficient funding and limited access to quality healthcare services.
We urge Pakistan to ensure access to HIV prevention options for all youth, and to address issues faced by people living with HIV, including through training healthcare personnel to address stigma in facilities, providing resources for the transgender community and people who use drugs, and adequately resourcing community-based organisations in accessible locations and towns.
Further, the criminalisation of key populations such as people who use drugs, sex workers, and sexual and gender minorities leads to stigma, including from healthcare workers. Pakistan must decriminalise these populations (and association with them).
Finally, Pakistan must lift restrictions on contraceptive advertisements placed by the Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority, to allow the public to be educated on contraception availability and use.