Statement: Leo Nevas Human Rights Task Force of UNA-USA Speaks Out Against Reported Assassination Plot against Asma Jahangir

June 8, 2012
NEW YORK – Following reports of a plot against the life of former UN Special Rapporteur and prominent human rights advocate Asma Jahangir, Leo Nevas Task Force Chair Felice Gaer issued the following statement on behalf of the Task Force:

“The Leo Nevas Task Force of the United Nations Association of the USA (UNA-USA) deplores the reported assassination plot against esteemed Pakistani human rights advocate Asma Jahangir. We call on the Pakistani government to take all steps necessary to guarantee her safety and to investigate serious allegations that elements in the Pakistani military and intelligence agencies are behind this plot.


“On Monday, Jahangir told Pakistani television that she had learned from a credible source about a planned assassination attempt by the highest levels of the security establishment. She said she was being targeted because of her criticism of the brutal tactics used by the government to suppress the widespread ethnic unrest in Baluchistan.


“Jahangir has long been an outspoken voice for human rights violations, wherever they may occur. She served both as UN Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary, or arbitrary execution, and more recently as Special Rapporteur on freedom of religion or belief. She was twice elected as Chairperson of the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan, which she helped establish. She also served as the first female President of the Supreme Court Bar Association of Pakistan, and has a long history of leadership at human rights, law, and women’s rights organizations.


“Unfortunately, Jahangir is no stranger to being threatened for her brave and pioneering work. She was placed under house arrest, and later imprisoned, in Pakistan for participating in the movement to restore political and fundamental rights under the military regime in 1983. She has been frequently threatened by militants due to her efforts to secure justice for disadvantaged groups. This latest reported assassination plot, with direct ties to the Pakistani government, must be investigated, lest the culture of impunity prevail.


“Jahangir is the recipient of the 2011 Leo Nevas Human Rights Award for her work as a UN Special Rapporteur, and for courageously championing human rights domestically in Pakistan.


“The Leo Nevas Human Rights Task Force commends the High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay for visiting Jahangir in her home in Lahore while on an official visit to Pakistan and for bringing the case up with Pakistani Prime Minister Yusuf Raza Gilani, as well as Secretary-General Ban Ki- moon’s recent statement expressing concern for Jahangir’s well-being.”




Media Contact
Joseph Catapano



The United Nations Association of the United States of America (UNA-USA), a program of the UN Foundation, is a membership organization dedicated to inform, inspire, and mobilize the American people to support the principles and vital work of the United Nations. UNA-USA works to accomplish its mission through its national network of chapters, advocacy efforts, education programs, and public events. UNA-USA and its sister organization the Better World Campaign are the single largest network of advocates and supporters of the United Nations in the world. For more information on UNA-USA, visit www.unausa.org.



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