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Freedom House denounces the violence that threatens to disrupt Pakistan’s general elections on May 11th and urges all parties to halt attacks against political candidates and allow citizens to go to the polls without fear. The National Assembly and Provincial Assembly elections represent the first time a civilian government will transfer power to another civilian government in Pakistan.

Today, as on March 8 every year since 1911, men and women around the globe celebrate the contributions women make to humankind. Although both egregious abuses and subtle discrimination persist worldwide, real progress toward gender equality, which means progress for humanity as a whole, appears to be gaining momentum.

Freedom House mourns the death of 33-year-old human rights activist Irfan Ali Khudi, who was killed in a string of bomb attacks in Quetta, Pakistan by terrorist organization Lashkar-e-Jhangvi, a banned Sunni militant group with ties to the Pakistani Taliban.

The decision by a Pakistani court to drop blasphemy charges against teenager Rimsha Masih is a positive step but fails to address the larger issue of the continued existence of laws of this kind. Freedom House calls on the Pakistani government to repeal or reform its blasphemy laws so as to better protect its citizens and foster an environment where diverse views can be freely expressed without fear.


Signature Reports

Special Reports

Policing Belief: The Impact of Blasphemy Laws on Human Rights

Policing Belief: The Impact of Blasphemy Laws on Human Rights examines the human rights implications of domestic blasphemy and religious insult laws using the case studies of seven countries—Algeria, Egypt, Greece, Indonesia, Malaysia, Pakistan and Poland—where such laws exist both on paper and in practice. Without exception, blasphemy laws violate the fundamentalfreedom of expression, as they are by definition intended to protect religious institutions and religious doctrine– i.e., abstract ideas and concepts – from insult or offence. At their most benign, such laws lead to self-censorship.  In Greece and Poland, two of the more democratic countries examined in the study, charges brought against high-profile artists, curators and writers serve as a warning to others that certain topics are off limits. At their worst, in countries such as Pakistan and Malaysia, such laws lead to overt governmental censorship and individuals are both prosecuted and subject to severe criminal penalties including lengthy jail sentences.

Evaluation of 2008-2011 UN Human Rights Council Candidates

On May 21, 2008, the UN General Assembly will elect 15 new Human Rights Council members. Twenty countries are candidates. Freedom House and UN Watch evaluated each candidate’s suitability for election to the Human Rights Council by examining its record of human rights protection at home and its record of human rights promotion at the UN.


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