Fighting between Pakistani government forces and Taliban armed groups has devastated civilian populations in northwestern Pakistan. Human rights violations have been committed by all sides in the conflict, as each pursues purely military strategies that fail to protect civilians. Countless lives have been destroyed and untold damage done to property, leaving millions of civilians homeless and unable to take care of their families.

The Pakistani government's response to the rise of insurgents in Pakistan's Northwest Frontier Province (NWFP) and Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) has fluctuated between launching often indiscriminate and disproportionate military operations that mostly harm civilians, and abandoning Pakistani citizens to abusive militant groups such as the Taliban. Military operations have taken a high toll on civilian life, property and infrastructure - such as homes and schools - and have often violated human rights law and international humanitarian law. Such violations have occurred repeatedly throughout the region and caused massive displacement.

International humanitarian law (IHL) is the main body of law that regulates how hostilities may be carried out, including hostilities that are part of internal armed conflicts. Both the Pakistani government and anti-government armed groups in FATA and NWFP are bound by international humanitarian law, including provisions of the Geneva Conventions, which Pakistan signed in 1951, and customary international humanitarian law applicable to non-international armed conflict. However, analysis based on public reports and testimony gathered by Amnesty International suggests that both insurgent groups and the Pakistani government in northwestern Pakistan are ignoring bedrock principles of the laws of war.
  Heat map of insurgency and security related incidents in northwestern Pakistan.

Heat map of insurgency and security related incidents in northwestern Pakistan. Information is based on publically available sources only.
© Analysis conducted and graphic produced by AAAS.


Amnesty International

  • Amnesty International's Eyes on Pakistan project leverages the power of geospatial technology to map the human rights crisis in Northwestern Pakistan - enabling action by private citizens and policy makers.
  • Eyes on Pakistan is a comprehensive and interactive site that enables viewers to visualize the extent of violence and human rights abuses in the region.
  • The information presented on the site is based on close to 2,500 incidents (reported in publically available sources), including airstrikes, ground attacks, and bomb attacks, occurring between 2005 and 2009.


Young girls and men queue separately for cooked rations in Jalala camp, Pakistan. The food has been donated by private citizens as well as the government. 17 May 2009.
© UNHCR/H. Caux