PAKISTAN: High Commissioner alarmed about Pakistan state of emergency 

United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Louise Arbour  said today she is alarmed over the suspension of fundamental rights and  imposition of a state of emergency in Pakistan.

Pakistan has not ratified the International Covenant on Civil and  Political Rights, but the High Commissioner noted that, under accepted  rules of international law, fundamental rights, such as the right to  life, the prohibition on arbitrary detention, torture and cruel,  inhumane and degrading treatment, cannot be suspended even in times of  emergency. Such far-reaching restrictions of rights must be  proportional and may only be applied to the extent and for the time  strictly required by the situation.

“A state of emergency should only be used to deal with a dire security threat to the nation, not to undermine the integrity and  independence of the judiciary”, the High Commissioner said.

The High Commissioner expressed concern about reports that leading  judges, lawyers and political and human rights activists have been  detained or placed under house arrest, including United Nations Special  Rapporteur on freedom of religion and belief, Asma Jahangir. The High  Commissioner called on the Pakistan authorities to clarify the status of
those detained and ensure that no one is detained for the peaceful  exercise of their political beliefs.

José Luis Díaz
Information Officer, Spokesperson
Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights

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About AHRC: The Asian Human Rights Commission is a regional non-governmental organisation monitoring and lobbying human rights issues in Asia. The Hong Kong-based group was founded in 1984. The above statement has only been forwarded by the AHRC.

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Document Type : Forwarded Statement
Document ID : FS-039-2007
Countries : Pakistan,