The United Nations has released a statement welcoming the recent landmark judgment by the Supreme Court of Pakistan restricting the use of the death penalty on severely mentally ill prisoners.
The statement is endorsed by eight leading UN experts Agnès Callamard, Special Rapporteur on Extrajudicial, Summary or Arbitrary Executions; Gerard Quinn, Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities; Nils Melzer, Special Rapporteur on Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment; and Elizabeth Broderick (Chair), Melissa Upreti (Vice Chair), Dorothy Estrada Tanck, Ivana Radačić, and Meskerem Geset Techane, the Working Group on Discrimination Against Women and Girls.
The Special Rapporteurs, Independent Experts and Working Groups are part of what is known as the Special Procedures of the Human Rights Council.
This statement by the UN is remarkably important as it appreciates efforts made by Pakistan with regard to human rights obligations and the use of the death penalty. The landmark judgment brings Pakistan in line with the recommendations of the UN Human Rights Committee that oversees Pakistan’s compliance with the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), which Pakistan is a signatory to.
Sarah Belal, Executive Director of Justice Project Pakistan, adds: “This momentous judgment not only protects the rights of the most vulnerable people and sets jurisprudence in dealing with people with psychosocial disabilities, it has also elevated Pakistan’s human rights status in the UN system as a member state and a member of the UN Human Rights Council.”