Amnesty International on the impacts of heatwaves in Pakistan

Amnesty International on the impacts of heatwaves in Pakistan
Dry land. Source: © Nicolas Houdayer/Unsplash, 2022.


Julija Stavar

TEAM PAKISTAN Researcher, 

Global Human Rights Defence,

On World Environment Day, Amnesty International published a report, titled ‘A Burning Emergency: Extreme Heat and the Right to Health in Pakistan’, calling for global action to mitigate the impacts of heatwaves in Pakistan as it is the country at the frontline of the climate crisis. According to the Global Climate Risk Index, “Pakistan is among the 10 countries most harmed by disasters related to climate change in the past two decades despite contributing less than 1 percent of the world’s planet-warming gases” (Hussain, 2023).

Amnesty International’s report examined the impacts of the heatwaves in Pakistan on people’s lives and right to health, and it highlights the struggles of people living in poverty and experiencing extreme heat (Amnesty International, 2023). They interviewed people who are at a higher risk of exposure to heat, such as agricultural workers, labourers, delivery riders, police officers and sanitation workers. According to some health workers, there has been an increase in cases of heatstroke, drowsiness, difficulty breathing, burning sensations, dizziness, fever, body pain, eye infections, and headaches during periods of extreme heat (Amnesty International, 2023). The interviews revealed that the impacts of heatwaves are experienced by everyone, but that they particularly affect certain socio-economic groups that are more vulnerable (Amnesty International, 2023).

Dinushika Dissanayake, Amnesty International’s Deputy Regional Director in South Asia, commented that “climate injustice is starkly visible, with its people facing disproportionately severe consequences, often life threatening, despite their small contribution to climate change. Tackling a climate crisis of this scale requires global attention and action” (Amnesty International, 2023). This brings attention to the collective responsibility, especially that of wealthier countries, to support and help the most marginalised groups exposed to extreme heat. The report also called on the government of Pakistan to design a comprehensive action plan in line with international human rights standards in order to ensure the rights of those exposed to such conditions are protected (Amnesty International, 2023).

Sources and further readings:

Amnesty International. (2023, June 5). Global: International action vital to mitigate impact of searing heatwaves in Pakistan. Amnesty International. Retrieved June 8, 2023, from 

Hussain, A. (2023, June 5). Amnesty calls for global action to mitigate heatwaves in Pakistan. Al Jazeera. Retrieved June 8, 2023, from