Photo: Roshni

Pakistan

Priority Issues

  • Women's Rights
  • Children's Rights
  • LGBTI Rights
  • Resource Rights
  • Labor Rights

Began Program: 2004

In the last decade Pakistan has witnessed tremendous change and insecurity. Sectarian and extremist violence, mounting intolerance of minorities, and man-made and natural disasters have rocked the economy and thrown the majority of the population into poverty. These conditions put women, minorities, and children at risk for discrimination, violence, and exploitation. And while the country has recently undergone the transition from military to civilian rule, democratically elected governments have failed to secure protections for human rights. Abuses like torture and forced disappearances are committed by the state with impunity, and development projects approved by the government displace populations and destroy the livelihoods of communities without their consent.

Civilian rule has nevertheless come with some reform of public governance, and courageous activists in Pakistan continue to press for change. Human rights organizations are working closely with those at risk for rights violations despite the great danger of their work, as attacks against human rights defenders have reached unprecedented levels.

“It is rare to see the kind of understanding that the Fund has on how change takes place. The Fund’s expertise, belief in our mission, and patience gives us confidence and strengthens our resolve.”
Tahir Khilji, VISION, Pakistan

Our Strategy

While supporting a human rights movement in Pakistan has been challenging, the Fund has provided crucial support to organizations that have been responsible for significant progress in the country. Our steady support has enabled communities to release bonded laborers in brick kiln factories, block illegal deforestation that displaces people and takes away their livelihoods, and provide much needed protection and support to victims of violence and harassment among minorities like Hindus, Christians, and LGBTI individuals. The Fund’s grantees are strengthening implementation of laws when the government falls short. Our funding has mobilized women to vote in national elections, provided legal aid to women who have been victims of violence or loss of inheritance, and protected children who have gone missing in conflict zones. Our investment in Pakistan’s human rights movement has been critical to activists not only in supporting their work but also in defending their security when they come under attack.