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Human rights violation and their protection is a broad topic and covering its every aspect single handedly is an uphill task for civil society organizations. Therefore HDO has focused its energies on specific issues of rights of persons deprived of freedom (detainees), child abuse and gender based violence/mistreatments. This program was launched in district Haripur initially but its outreach has now successfully expanded to entire Hazara division especially Abbottabad and Mansehra districts. The process of its further expansion to other parts of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa is right now in progress.

Custodial abuses  

In absence of proper legislation and monitoring mechanism of detention centers the custodial abuses are rampant in our society and the perpetrators could not be brought to justice. While the survivors, on the other hand, are left to suffer different physiological and psychological complications after facing cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment or punishment at the hands of law enforcement agencies during custody.

HDO’s eight years working experience for the rights of persons deprived of liberty indicates that over 80% of citizens including women and children brought to different detention centers for confession are one or the other way exposed to torturous treatment that carries both physical and psychological sequelae depending on the nature/method and degree of punishment.

Physical Torture: Owing to absence of scientific investigation mechanism in the criminal justice system the citizens detained on different criminal charges by law enforcement/security agencies are made to confess using primitive methods of physical torture. Most common methods used at police stations and other detention centres are: beating with bamboo sticks, kicking, slapping and punching in stomach, kidneys and genitals, beating with litar (leather strip), ear twisting, hair pulling, nail removing, made to stand with hands held high over shoulders (handcuffed), becoming cock, made to do sit –stand exercise for a long time, made to sit on air’s chair (posturing as sitting on chair), pumping water mixed with red chilies through anus, forced urine retention, falanga, leg stretching, butcher suspension some time naked, keeping sleep and food less, some time inflicting gunshot and stab wounds.

Psychological Torture:  For breaking a detainee into confession together with making him/her a worst example for others to scare away from committing crime, the police and security agencies use mild to high degree of psychological torture which include: stripping, use of abusive language, hurling threats or disrobing women of the family of a person in custody, showing someone being tortured, keeping sleepless, incommunicado.

Sexual Torture: Rape during custody, sexual harassment, forced touching or fondling of genital areas, body parts.   

As required under the international and domestic instruments of human rights every torture survivor has the right to medical, psychological and social rehabilitation. Detainees after suffering cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment or punishment, face different physiological, psychological after affects together with socio-economic problems of umpteenth nature. For their reintegration in society as normal citizen with enhanced self esteem, HDO offer these primary victims medical care, psychotherapeutic support, socio-economic reintegration and legal assistance. Applying different therapeutic techniques and approaches over 300 torture survivors (primary) and 200 secondary level victims receive rehabilitation services annually. <<<READ MORE>>>

For prevention/denunciation of custodial abuses and advocating for the rights of detainees, HDO has devised three pronged strategy, 1) Sensitizing/educating key stakeholders of society including police, prison staff, parliamentarians , lawyers , judicial officers/magistrates, medical practitioners, teachers, students, journalists, political activists, religious leaders and human rights defenders for playing their role in torture free detention in line with provisions of UNCAT, Istanbul Protocol, and domestic laws, 2) Educating general public and detainees about the rights of persons in conflict with law enshrined in domestic and international instruments of human rights including UNCAT, ICCPR, CRC, UN standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners through, IEC material, sessions, seminars, discussions, walks, print and electronic media and theatrical performances, 3) Lobbying for criminalization of torture, putting in place a district based monitoring mechanism aimed at protection of human rights of persons deprived of liberty. <<<READ MORE>>>


Afzal Abad, Central Jail Road, Haripur, KPK, Pakistan														(C) Human Development Organization