Rights Watch (7th April 2020)

Rights Watch

Education in Crisis

Approximately 46.8 million Pakistani students’ learning has been affected by country-wide lockdowns and restrictions due to the coronavirus pandemic, according to the COVID-19 Educational Disruption and Response issued by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). Connectivity issues, especially in rural and tribal areas, and lack of training for teachers have also contributed to difficulties in accessing education through alternative means.

According to the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), around 430 million children in South Asian states have been affected by the closure of schools. UNICEF has urged the South-Asian government to immediately devise stratagems to provide students with quality education at home over fears of millions of students being forced to dropping out should schools remain closed for a prolonged period of time.

Coalminers Die Due to Gas Leak

Three coalminers hailing from Shangla succumbed to critical burn injuries sustained in a blast when a toxic gas leak in a Dara Adamkhel coal mine caught fire on April 1. The victims lost their lives on Monday while undergoing treatment at the Burns and Plastic Surgery Center in Hayatabad, Peshawar.

Prior to this recent incident, 9 coal miners in 2018 and 4 in 2019 perished in a gas leak blast at the very same mines. Coalminers are forced to work in extremely hazardous conditions without proper safety equipment due to extreme poverty, and must often bear non-payment of due wages for months on end.

Relief for Lawyers

President of the Supreme Court Bar Association of Pakistan, Syed Qalbe Hassan announced a “Corona Relief Fund” for the underprivileged members of the association amidst the financial crises many face due to the lockdown. Members in need of financial assistance can apply as beneficiaries of the fund by submitting a written application at the SCBA Islamabad head-office, or at the provincial registry offices in Karachi, Lahore, Quetta and Peshawar. Members may also reach out via email.