UN bodies urge Pak to prevent 'victimisation' of 'most vulnerable people' in flood relief

Islamabad, Oct 28 (ANI): Three UN human rights bodies have called on Pakistan to ensure that women, minorities and the disabled are spared from "further victimisation" during the recovery from the devastating floods that ravaged the country earlier this year.

"Members of minority communities, Afghan refugees, women, children and persons with disabilities, particularly those living in rural areas, were already among the most vulnerable in Pakistani society," the Daily Times quoted the bodies, as saying in a joint statement.

"The floods have disproportionately affected them," they added.

The statement issued by the trio- the Committee on Children's Rights, the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women, and the Committee on the Rights of the Disabled- called on Pakistani authorities "to strengthen the human rights-based approach of their efforts in order to prevent further victimisation of the most vulnerable population."

85 per cent of those displaced by the floods were women and children, including half a million pregnant women, they underlined.

The UN rights bodies pointed out that such victims suffered due to destruction of health centres, and needed protection from sexual and physical abuse as well as support to overcome any constraints they faced in reaching aid and basic services, including cultural barriers.

The disabled "are often a part of society that is kept invisible, even under normal circumstances and more so in times of emergency," they added, noting that the disabled victims needed an urgent relocation from the flood-hit areas.

According to the UN, at least seven million people are still shelterless in Pakistan, nearly three months after the floods devastated huge swathes of the country. (ANI)

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