FORWARDED APPEAL (Pakistan): Arrest of human rights defenders in Pakistan 

Dear friends,

Please see below a letter sent by a group of organisations in Thailand to the President of Pakistan, General Pervez Musharraf, regarding the arrest of human rights defenders during a recent peaceful assembly in Pakistan. Interested persons can write similar letters to the President of Pakistan and to Pakistani embassies or consulates in your territory.

Please note, for those in Bangkok, a rally regarding this matter has been organised for Saturday 21 March 2005.

Urgent Appeals Desk
Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC)

May 20th, 2005

Embassy of Pakistan
Bangkok, Thailand

Sub: Concern at the arrest of human rights activists seeking to organise a rally on violence against women, 14th May 2005

Dear General Pervez Musharraf

We, the undersigned human rights activists in Thailand and aboard both individuals and organisations would like to express our concern at the recent arrest of 50 people including Ms. Hina Jilani, UN Special Representative of the Secretary General on Human Rights Defenders, and Ms. Asma Jehangir, Chairperson, Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) and she is also the UN Special Rapporteur for Freedom of Religion or Belief.

The report from Lahore stated that the police barred the activists from organizing a marathon to raise awareness on the issue of violence against women in Pakistani society.  The police unnecessarily baton charged the peaceful assembly causing injuries to several activists. Though the activists were released after 4 hours of detention, the action of the police in preventing the organizing of the peaceful marathon is a matter of grave concern.

The objective of the marathon organised jointly by HRCP and Joint Action Committee for Peoples Rights, was to highlight the issue of violence against women. According to the reports of Amnesty International and Human Rights Commission of Pakistan, incidents of violence against women including physical abuse, rape, acid throwing, burning and killing, is widespread in Pakistan. According to reports during the last two years more than 600 women were killed for alleged breaches of “honour”. Many of such cases of violence are unreported and the victims include young girls of tender age.

Pakistan has ratified the UN Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women and has an obligation to take all appropriate measures to ensure the realization of equal rights of women. To achieve these goals we urge the State to allow civil society people to express their opinions and voice their issues of concern in a democratic manner. The State should support the efforts of civil society in protecting and promoting the rights of women instead of suppressing such endeavors.

As adopted in 1998, UN Declaration on Human Rights Defenders guarantees that everyone has the right, individually and in association with others to meet or assemble peacefully. The State must have a prime responsibility and duty to protect and promote the efforts of civil society in protecting and promoting the rights of women instead of suppressing such endeavors.

Sincerely yours,

NGOs Coalition for the protection of Human Rights Defenders, Thailand
Asia Pacific Forum on Women, Law and Development (APWLD)
International Service for Human Rights (ISHR), Geneva
Somchai Homlaor, Human Rights Lawyer, Thailand
Somsri Hananuntasuk, Human Rights Activist, Thailand
Pornpen Khongkachonkiet, Human Rights Activist, Thailand
Wanee B. Thitiprasert, Human Rights Activist, Thailand
Virada Somswasdi, Women’s Studies Center, Chiangmai University
Contact person: Somchai Homlaor 01-8995476 or Pornpen Khongkachonkiet 01-6824013


Contact details:

General Pervez Musharraf
Pakistan Secretariat
Fax: +92 51 922 4768/ 920 1893 or 1835

Thank you.

Urgent Appeals Program
Asian Human Rights Commission

To support this case, please click here: SEND APPEAL LETTER


Document Type : Forwarded Urgent Appeal
Document ID : FA-15-2005
Countries : Pakistan,
Issues : Human rights defenders,