Accountability for Rape: A Case Study of Lodhran

This project was a collaborative effort of the Centre for Human Rights and the American Bar Association – Rule of Law Initiative. The case study investigates the procedural and structural challenges that are faced by complainants & victims of rape in finding justice at the trial court level in Pakistan. The report involved analyzing 63 trial court files from District Lodhran, specifically cases that are ‘contested acquittals’ i.e. cases that went from filing to trial. The analysis explored factors from the occurrence of the incident to the announcement of judgment which cumulatively contributed to extremely high acquittal rates in rape cases for the district by complainants & victims of rape in finding justice at the trial court level in Pakistan.

Research Assistants:

Amad Tahir, Arsham Maqbool Bari, Deeya Farrukh, Mahrukh Shahid, Rabia Yasmin Bokhari, and Muhammad Sajjad Qureshi

Principal Researchers:

Sevim Saadat & Fatima Yasmin Bokhari

Read the full report here.

Algorithmic Decision-Making in Pakistan: A Challenge to Right to Equality & Non-Discrimination

Artificial Intelligence carries numerous opportunities, but globally the alarm of its risks has buzzed quite loudly. Despite this, the discourse in Pakistan continues to be focused on the opportunities of AI and the risks remain largely unaddressed, especially the risks posed to human rights. This report is a conversation starter in Pakistan about the risks of AI, in particular that of algorithmic unfairness in automated decision-making in relation to the constitutional freedoms of inequality and non-discrimination in Pakistan.

Given the technicalities of this area, the report has benefited from expert insights provided by AI researchers, AI System developers, experts working on de-biasing AI Systems, human rights experts, and legal scholars of AI. The report helps breakdown the technical workings of AI algorithms and how the pre-existing inequalities in the society can be embedded into an algorithm which can then be reinforced through decision making by AI Systems. The report also identifies the gap which exists between the law and IT industries which needs to be bridged in order to develop a more sustainable future of AI through strategic intervention of law and policy. As AI involves and impacts a range of stakeholders, the report offers targeted recommendations for the way forward in Pakistan.

Project Lead:
Uzma Nazir Chaudhry

Bridging the Digital Divide during Covid-19: A Right to Internet Access and the Path Towards Sustainability in Education

In light of the adverse, reverberating impacts of Covid-19-induced lockdowns, the existent digital divide in education has surfaced more clearly than ever. It has disproportionately exacerbated socio-economic inequalities and discrimination against already marginalised segments of the student population. This project focuses on ways to bridge the digital divide in education, and thus ensure the realisation of the essence of the fundamental rights to education and equal treatment.

To that end, extensive comparative research was undertaken in the first phase of this project to analyse the methods of domestic entrenchment of a right to internet access across the world. Constitutions, laws, judicial decisions and public policy frameworks of a range of selected countries were identified, analysed and compared. Simultaneously, our research also focused on the domestic landscape in Pakistan to explore and understand the prospects for entrenching a guarantee of access to the internet in education. In the second phase of the project, a right to internet access was analysed in a global context, from the lens of international human rights law. Various human rights instruments were analysed to assess the extent to which the existing corpus of international human rights law incorporates and accounts for a right to internet access, both generally and in the specific context of education.

Read the full report here!

Read the original version of this research published in a special IAU-UNODC journal here

Project Lead:

Fatima Mehmood

Student Research Assistants:

Maham Kashif, Hassan Ali Askari, Sajal Khan, Roshnaina Areej, Amna Hussain

Global Climate Justice

This report was prepared for the Commission on Human Rights of the Philippines by the Centre for Human Rights. It was written primarily to assist the Commission in their formulation of a broader curriculum and framework on climate change, a part of which demonstrates the different legal trends, patterns and movements that have been successful in climate change litigation. The report focuses on landmark climate change cases from 31 countries, and provides an analysis of the varied judicial activism across the globe vis-a-vis climate change litigation. The report also reflects on the role of climate science as legal evidence which has caused a positive shift in judicial attitudes, and also analyses the jurisprudence which is developing across the globe to deal with climate change.

Principal Researcher:

Uzma Nazir Chaudhry

Read the full report here