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Last Updated: Tuesday, 1 March, 2005, 12:31 GMT
US criticises South Asia abuses
Police detain a protestor during a demonstration in Kathmandu, Nepal
Security forces in Nepal came in for particular criticism
The human rights records of most of the countries of South Asia have been criticised in the annual world report of the US State Department.

Nepal and Bangladesh are singled out for criticism, while the report says there have been improvements in Pakistan, despite "serious problems".

Indian security forces are criticised for "extrajudicial" killings.

The Sri Lankan police force is accused of torture, while Tamil Tiger rebels are accused of "arbitrary killings".

The Afghan government's human rights record is described as "poor", although the report says there were improvements in some areas.


The report, which covers 2004, does not comment on King Gyanendra's seizure of power in Nepal.

Police in Dhaka
Bangladeshi police are accused of numerous abuses

But it criticises the lack of parliamentary elections in the kingdom, and the use of "arbitrary and unlawful lethal force" by the security forces.

"The government's human rights record remained poor, and it continued to commit numerous serious abuses," the report says.


Killings and other abuses by the security forces and paramilitaries allied to the Bangladeshi government took place, the report says.

Attacks on journalists and efforts to intimidate them have increased, it says.

"Virtually all journalists practised some self-censorship... The government's poor human rights record worsened, and it continued to commit numerous abuses."


Police were blamed for illegal killings, rape and other abuses. The Pakistani judiciary is described as "inefficient, corrupt and lacking independence".

Jamaat-e-Islami members in Pakistan
Sectarian parties in Pakistan are accused of carrying out killings

"During the year, killings linked to sectarian, religious extremist, and terrorist groups continued," it says.

Honour killings and child trafficking remain major problems, the report says, even though there have been "some improvements" in Pakistan's human rights record.


The report says that India - like Sri Lanka - generally respects the rights of its citizens, even though "numerous serious problems" remain.

"Police and security forces were sometimes responsible for extrajudicial killings.

"Government officials often used special antiterrorism legislation to justify the excessive use of force while combating active insurgencies in Jammu and Kashmir and several north-eastern states."

Sri Lanka

"The government generally respected the human rights of its citizens," the report says, "however, there were serious problems in some areas."

Police in Colombo
Several people died in custody in Sri Lanka, says the report

"There were no reports of security forces committing politically motivated killings and no reports of disappearances; however, there were extensive reports of torture and 13 custodial deaths as a result of police torture."

The reports says prison conditions remain poor, and reports persist of arbitrary arrests and "institutionalised discrimination" against the minority Tamil community.

Strongest criticism is reserved for Tamil Tiger rebels who are accused of "arbitrary arrests, torture, abductions and harassment".


"The government's human rights record remained poor; although there were some improvements in a few areas, serious problems remain," the report says.

The Pakistani government's human rights record remained poor; although there were some improvements in several areas, serious problems remained
State Department report

"There were instances where local security forces and police committed extrajudicial killings, and officials used torture in prisons.

"Efforts to bring to justice serious human rights offenders were often ineffective; impunity from the law remained a serious concern."


"The government's human rights record remained poor; although there were some improvements in a few areas, problems remained," the report says.

King Jigme Singye Wangchuk of Bhutan
In Bhutan, abuses remain although there are improvements

"The King exercised strong and direct power over security and sovereignty... and the government placed limitations on civil, political, and workers' rights.

"The government prohibited political parties, and none operated legally. Unlike in previous years, there were no reports of arbitrary arrest or detention."


"The government's human rights record remained poor; although there were some improvements in a few areas, serious problems remained," the report says.

"The president's power to appoint some members of the Parliament and the absence of political parties constrained citizens' ability to change their government.

"The government continued to impose constraints on freedom of the press and on the formation of political parties; however, on June 9, the President proposed numerous constitutional reforms including the right to form political parties."

Amnesty lists South Asia abuses
26 May 04 |  South Asia
Human rights warning in Pakistan
01 Feb 05 |  South Asia
US condemned over rights abuses
26 May 04 |  Americas

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