Defense of Human Rights Becoming Risky Business in Pakistan

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

By Joseph DeCaro, Worthy News Correspondent

ISLAMABAD, PAKISTAN (Worthy News)-- The Center for Human Rights Education expressed deep concern about the numerous threats to the lives of human rights defenders in Pakistan.

Pakistan is and has been a place where human rights defenders face threatening situations that include threats, monitoring of their whereabouts, tapping of phones, registering of fabricated cases, forced disappearances, slander, stigmatization and ultimately killings, according to a statement by CHRE Director Samson Salamat.

The situation is even worse after the threat to the life of Pakistan’s leading Human Rights Defender, Asma Jahangir, wrote Salamat.

Further, the proclamation by Maulvi Abdul Haleem warning that women working for NGOs will not be allowed to enter Kohistan and that violators will be forcibly married-off to local men only increases the risks of those working for human rights.

According to Salamat, the danger comes mainly from Pakistan's state security apparatus: the very state organizations that are responsible for the safety and security of its citizens are involved in the persecution of those defending their rights, thereby nullifying the fundamental freedoms of expression, assembly and association while muting any voices of dissent.

CHRE called upon the government to assume responsibility for the safety and security of its human rights defenders, demanding that Pakistan: respects the Declaration on Human Rights Defenders adopted by the UN in 1998; ensures that the state’s security offices operate within their own jurisdictions and avoid invovlement in any unlawful act(s); ensures that individuals circulating hateful and malicious materials be apprehended; ensures an environment conducive for human rights defenders to work without fear and that the killers of human rights defenders are punished according to the law.