Pakistan

Pakistan: Stop attacks on human rights advocates and NGO workers

Update: 
Not an update
Date: 
2013 Jan 14
Update Date: 
2013 Feb 6
Update: 

FEBRUARY 6, 2013 UPDATE: The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) provincial government has pledged monetary compensation (300,000 PKR) and one government job to each of the seven victims’ families in Swabi.  While this falls short of our demands, it will be a great benefit to the families, as the victims’ NGO jobs were often the families’ main source of income.  Additionally, the fact that the government responded to the civil society organizations at all, which is fairly uncommon, is encouraging. In response to the government, local groups are calling for increased compensation to all of the murdered human rights advocates and NGO worker’s families (2,000,000 PKR), and re-iterated that all such cases be properly investigated and the perpetrators be brought to justice. Equality Now has also sent our Urgent Alert to the UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders in Geneva.

Please continue to mount pressure on the Pakistani government to protect human rights defenders, ensure justice for targeted activists, prevent future violence and end the culture of impunity for crimes against women.


 

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Equality Now and our partners in Pakistan are deeply concerned about the continuing attacks and threats against activists and NGO workers in Pakistan. Women, and those working to promote the rights of women and girls, have been particularly targeted by some of the attacks.

What You Can Do: 

Please join Equality Now and our partners and ask the Pakistani government to heed the call of Pakistani civil society groups to protect human rights defenders, ensure justice for targeted activists, and prevent future violence, including by guaranteeing and promoting women’s right to equality.

TAKE ACTION NOW! << Click on this link to send all letters below online.

Help us spread the word about this campaign by sharing this Alert with your friends.

Letters should go to:

Mr. Raja Pervez Ashraf
Prime Minister of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan
The Prime Minister’s Secretariat
Islamabad, Pakistan
Tel: +92 51 920 6111
Fax: +92 51 922 1596
Email: secretary@cabinet.gov.pk

Mr. Amir Haider Hoti
Chief Minister Khyber Pakhtunkhwa
Chief Minister House
Fort Road
Peshawar Cantt
Pakistan
Tel: +92 91 9213574, +92 91 9211719
Fax: +92 91 9210718, +92 91 9210743
Email: javedkhaki@gmail.com

Barrister Syed Masood Kausar
Governor Khyber Pakhtunkhwa
Governor House Abdul Qayum Road
Peshawar
Pakistan
Fax: +92 91 9210751

Letters: 

Dear Prime Minister/Chief Minister/Governor:

I am deeply concerned about the recent attacks and threats upon human rights defenders and NGO workers in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) province and FATA, including the attack on Malala Yousafzai last October, and the numerous fatal shootings of health, education and other local and foreign NGO workers between December 2012 and January 2013. 

According to NGOs in the area, threats to the lives of human rights defenders, and NGO workers in general, are common in KP province and FATA and I am troubled by the lack of effective measures to protect human rights activists in the region.  As many local and foreign NGOs are working particularly to improve the situation of women and girls, the continued threats and attacks against them are slowing down progress to protect and promote the rights of women and girls in Pakistan. 

The UN Declaration on Human Rights Defenders specifies the obligations of States to guarantee and protect the rights of human rights defenders. Pakistan also has a duty to protect all human rights established in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR), the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) and the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) among others committed to by Pakistan. The UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders, Margaret Sekaggya, and the Special Rapporteur on violence against women, Rashida Manjoo, have both taken note of violations against human rights defenders working on women’s rights in Pakistan and have highlighted the government’s responsibility to investigate and promptly ensure that perpetrators are held accountable. Additionally, in the June 2008 report of the Working Group on the Universal Periodic Review of Pakistan, Pakistan was called upon to “combat impunity for attacks on human rights defenders by effectively investigating allegations and by prosecuting those responsible.”

I support civil society organizations working in KP and FATA, including the Pakhtunkhwa Civil Society Network (PCSN) and Tribal NGOs Consortium (TNC) coalitions, as well as End Violence against Women and Girls (EVAW/G) Alliance KP & FATA, and join them in urging you to:

  • amend the Pakistan Penal Code and the Criminal Procedure Code to make it a specific criminal offence to intimidate, harass, threaten, attack or injure any individual because of their human rights or NGO work;
  • take immediate measures to end the culture of impunity for crimes against women, including by:
    • repealing or revising laws, policies and practices – both written and unwritten – that deny women’s equality and rights;
    • bringing to justice perpetrators of violence and discrimination against women and those who collude with them; and
    • taking legislative, educational and other appropriate measures to address the culture of silence and victim-blaming that increases the vulnerability of women to violence, results in the violation of their rights and impedes their enjoyment of full and equal citizenship. 

Thank you for your attention.
Sincerely,

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Pakistan: Protect human rights defenders and ensure justice for murdered activists

Update: 
Not an update
Date: 
2012 Aug 2

View as pdf

What You Can Do: 

>> TAKE ACTION NOW!

Please join Equality Now and the End Violence against Women and Girls (EVAW/G) Alliance KP & FATA by calling on the Pakistani government to:

  • ensure that Farida Afridi’s and Zarteef Khan Afridi’s murders are immediately and fully investigated and all perpetrators prosecuted for their crimes to the full extent of the law 
  • ensure the safety of human rights defenders, particularly women, and criminalize intimidation, harassment, threats, or attacks upon persons 
  • criminalize public statements or decrees inciting actual violence against human rights defenders

Help us spread the word about this campaign by sharing this Alert with your friends.

Letters should go to:

Mr. Syed Yousuf Raza Gillani
Prime Minister of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan
The Prime Minister’s Secretariat
Islamabad, Pakistan
Tel: +92 51 920 6111
Fax: +92 51 922 1596
Email: secretary@cabinet.gov.pk

Mr. Amir Haider Hoti
Chief Minister Khyber Pakhtunkhwa
Chief Minister House
Fort Road
Peshawar Cantt
Pakistan
Tel: +92 91 9213574, +92 91 9211719
Fax: +92 91 9210718, +92 91 9210743
Email: pskhyberpakhtoonkhwa@yahoo.com

Barrister Syed Masood Kausar
Governor Khyber Pakhtunkhwa
Governor House Abdul Qayum Road
Peshawar
Pakistan
Fax: +92 91 9210087

Mr. Mutahir Zeb
Political Agent Khyber Agency
Office of the Political Agent Khyber Agency Bara Road
Peshawar Cantt
Pakistan
Fax: +92 91 9211900

Letters: 

Dear Prime Minister/Chief Minister/Governor:

I am deeply concerned about the recent attacks and threats upon human rights defenders in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) province and FATA.

In particular, I am troubled by the 4 July 2012 murder of Farida Afridi, Executive Director of women’s rights organization Sawera based in FATA, who after facing threats for her women’s rights work, was shot to death outside her home. Additionally, in December 2011, Zarteef Khan Afridi, a coordinator of the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP), was similarly murdered, reportedly by extremist elements in FATA. A suspect has been arrested in Farida’s murder but the perpetrators in Zarteef Khan Afridi’s case remain at large.

According to NGOs in the area, threats to the lives of human rights defenders are common in KP province and FATA. Reportedly, during a sermon on 4 May 2012, a politically influential religious cleric, Maulvi Abdul Haleem, from Kohistan district in KP province warned women NGO workers against entering Kohistan and threatened to forcibly marry violators to locals. Such statements have led to fear amongst NGO workers, particularly women. I am troubled that the provincial government has not taken any steps to protect human rights activists in the region and rights groups working in KP and FATA are losing staff whose lives and safety are threatened.

The UN Declaration on Human Rights Defenders specifies the obligations of States to guarantee and protect the rights of human rights defenders. Pakistan also has a duty to protect all human rights established in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) (Article 2), the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) (Article 2) and the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) (Article 3). The UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders, Margaret Sekaggya, and the Special Rapporteur on violence against women, Rashida Manjoo have both taken note of violations against human rights defenders working on women’s rights in Pakistan and have highlighted the State’s responsibility to investigate and promptly ensure that perpetrators are held accountable. Additionally, in the June 2008 report of the Working Group on the Universal Periodic Review of Pakistan, Pakistan was called upon to ‘combat impunity for attacks on human rights defenders by effectively investigating allegations and by prosecuting those responsible.’

I support the Charter of Demands drafted by the End Violence against Women and Girls (EVAW/G) Alliance KP & FATA and join them in urging you to:

  • ensure that the murders of Farida Afridi and Zarteef Khan Afridi are immediately and fully investigated and all perpetrators prosecuted for their crimes to the full extent of the law
  • ensure the safety of human rights defenders, particularly women and criminalize intimidation, harassment, threats, or attacks upon persons
  • criminalize public statements or decrees inciting actual violence against human rights defenders

Thank you for your attention.

Yours sincerely,

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War Against Rape, Lahore, Nasreen Welfare Trust Legal Aid Services & Equality Now Release Ground Breaking Report on Incest in Pakistan

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
24 January 2012

Contact: EQUALITY NOW (London/New York): Mehr Qureshi, mqureshi@equalitynow.org
NASREEN WELFARE TRUST (Pakistan): Hina Hafeezullah, hina.h.ishaq@gmail.com
WAR AGAINST RAPE, LAHORE (Pakistan): Sidra Humayun, sidra.humayun@hotmail.com

Report aims to prompt revisions to Pakistan’s sexual violence laws including a special provision for incest

Equality Now Issues Urgent Alert After Brother of Teenager Allegedly Gang-Raped by Police Shot Dead Outside of a Court House in Pakistan

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
15 December 2011

Contact: LONDON: Anber Raz, (44) (0) 20-7839-5456, ukinfo@equalitynow.org
NEW YORK: Karen Asare, (01) 212-586-0906, media@equalitynow.org

Organization calls on Government Officials to Protect 16-year-old Uzma Ayub and her Family and to Ensure Justice in her Case

Equality Now calls on the Government of Pakistan to Protect 16 year old Gang-rape Victim Uzma Ayub and Ensure Justice in her Case

Update: 
UPDATE
Date: 
2011 Dec 15
Update Date: 
2013 Feb 11
Update: 

UPDATE 11 February 2013: Following the remand of the case from the High Court, on 31 January the lower court acquitted the defendants, including several police officers, in the gang rape case. This was not unexpected, given the High Court's determination that there was no conclusive evidence against the accused. We are concerned for the safety of Uzma and her family after this ruling as they will no longer have state protection and they have already been targeted for bringing the case.  We are strategizing with partners about ways to protect her.


UPDATE 22 June 2012: On 19 June, the Peshawar High Court in Pakistan dismissed its December 2011 inquiry into this case. The court found that the DNA test results of Uzma’s baby did not match the men implicated in the gang-rape. In addition, it ordered Uzma to undergo multiple lie detector tests and found the results inconclusive. On 4 June, Equality Now wrote to the court expressing great concern about subjecting a rape victim to lie-detector testing which is psychologically damaging and, given the inconclusive nature of the results, highly prejudicial.

Uzma's gang-rape case and her brother's murder case are still pending at the lower court and Equality Now and our partners are strategizing on next steps.


UPDATE 29 February 2012: Pressure from human rights groups and media prompted the Pakistani government to take action in the case of Uzma Ayub. Following the Peshawar High Court's call for thorough inquiries and strict action against all perpetrators and the police officers who failed to take action in both the rape and murder cases in December 2011, 14 people have been arrested in the rape case and 29 police officers have been suspended. The alleged murderer of Uzma's brother is still at large but 15 of his alleged co-conspirators have been arrested. For Uzma’s safety, the government has relocated her and her mother to Peshawar. On 19 January, Uzma gave birth to a baby girl. DNA samples have been taken from the baby and the alleged rapists and are being tested in order to identify the child's father. The next hearing in the rape case will be held after the results of the paternity test have been released.

Please join us as we continue to call upon the Pakistani government to ensure that Uzma’s case is fully and properly investigated and that all the perpetrators involved, including those who may have obstructed justice, are prosecuted to the full extent of the law. Similarly, continue to call on them to ensure that all those responsible for the murder of Uzma’s brother Alamzeb are swiftly and properly brought to justice and prosecuted.


Uzma and child
Uzma and child
What You Can Do: 

Please write urgently to the officials below calling on them to ensure Uzma and her family’s immediate safety. Ask them to make certain that her case is fully and properly investigated and that all the perpetrators involved, including those who may have obstructed justice, are prosecuted to the full extent of the law, in accordance with Pakistan’s own Constitution and international obligations. Similarly call on them to ensure that all those responsible for the murder of Uzma’s brother Alamzeb are swiftly and properly brought to justice and prosecuted. Ask that local organisations under threat are protected and any threats against them investigated and appropriately prosecuted. Request guarantees that the authorities will send clear messages that such criminal actions, particularly by those who should be upholding the law, will not be tolerated.

>> TAKE ACTION NOW!

Mr. Amir Haider Hoti
Chief Minister Khyber Pakhtunkhwa
Chief Minister House
Fort Road,
Peshawar Cantt
Pakistan
Tel: +92-91-9213574, +92-91- 9211719
Fax: +92-91-9210718, +92-91-9210743
Email: pskhyberpakhtoonkhwa@yahoo.com

Barrister Arshad Abdullah
Minister for Law & Parliamentary Affairs
Government of Khyber Pakhtoonkhwa
Minister Block Opposite to MPA Hostel
Peshawar, Khyber Pakhtoonkhwa
Tel: +92-91-9210353
Fax: +92-91-9211130
 
Mr. Syed Yousuf Raza Gillani
Prime Minister of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan
The Prime Minister’s Secretariat
Islamabad, Pakistan
Tel: +92 51 920 6111
Fax: +92 51 922 1596
E-mail: secretary@cabinet.gov.pk

Mr. Moula Bakhsh Chandio
Minister for Law, Justice
and Parliamentary Affairs
Ministry of Law, Justice
and Parliamentary Affairs
Islamabad, Pakistan
E-Mail: minister@molaw.gov.pk

Letters: 

Dear _____ :

I write to you with deep concern regarding the case of gang-rape victim Uzma Ayub from Karak in the Khyber Pakhtunkha (KP) province.

I was concerned to hear about the horrific circumstances concerning 16 year old Uzma’s case and that she was held captive for almost a year during which she was repeatedly gang raped by a number of individuals including police officers resulting in a pregnancy. I was deeply dismayed to hear that Uzma and her family having already suffered such tragedy, have been further traumatized by the killing of Uzma’s brother Alamzeb Marwat outside the Karak District court allegedly by relatives of some of the police perpetrators.

Despite intense pressure and death threats, Uzma and her family are fighting for justice. This case has highlighted a shocking level of police corruption in the area and I urge you to please address this situation urgently. I respectfully urge you to ensure that Uzma’s case is fully and properly investigated and that all the perpetrators involved, including those who may have obstructed justice, are prosecuted to the full extent of the law, in accordance with Pakistan’s own Constitution, which states that “all citizens are equal before law and are entitled for equal protection of law” and that “there shall be no discrimination on the basis of sex alone,” along-side Pakistan’s international human rights obligations to ensure justice for all. I also ask that you ensure all those responsible for the murder of Uzma’s brother Alamzeb are swiftly and properly brought to justice and prosecuted. 

It is also my understanding that local NGOs who have been supporting Uzma in her fight for justice have been threatened. I urge you to ensure that local organisations are protected and any threats against them investigated and appropriately prosecuted. 

By prosecuting the perpetrators the government of KP will send a clear message that such criminal actions, particularly by those who should be upholding the law, will not be tolerated.

Thank you for your attention.

Yours sincerely

Sidra Humayun

Confronting Sexual Violence Head On in Pakistan
Sidra Humayun

1. Can you describe the hurdles that female victims of sexual violence typically face in seeking justice and help in Pakistan?

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