Asma Jahangir leaves behind a powerful human rights legacy

15 Febrero, 2018, 05:14 | Author: Kelly Blake
  • Asma Jahangir leaves behind a powerful human rights legacy

"Ms. Jahangir called for vital human rights reforms and took urgent action on a large number of cases, affecting many lives in Iran", said a statement released by a group of human rights organizations.

Jahangir suffered a heart attack late on Saturday night and was rushed to hospital where she died early on Sunday, her daughter Munizae said.

Jahangir faced death threats, beatings and imprisonment to win landmark human rights cases while standing up to dictators.

Dr Chunakara said that while Jahangir served as the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Extrajudicial, Summary and Arbitrary Executions and the Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Religion or Belief, he had several opportunities to work with her on behalf of the CCA and WCC in the 1990s and 2000s.

As a strong advocate of women's rights she challenged the Hudood Ordinance in Pakistan and spoke out for women's freedom and dignity in different forums. As a former chairperson of the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan and President of the Supreme Court Bar Association of Pakistan, Asma took up cases in court and campaigned in public. Jahangir tried hard to rid Pakistan's judicial system of corruption and manipulation and rose to become the first woman President of the Supreme Court's bar association. She got her law degree from the Punjab University in 1978 before plunging into a long career of human rights advocacy. She was arrested for the first time. Jahangir's death is a severe loss not just for Pakistan's civil society but also for the endangered community of liberals and human rights activists in India. In her capacity as a human rights lawyer she fought many cases on behalf of those accused of blasphemy, women seeking divorce from unsafe marriages and other important cases.

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She paid tribute to Asma as a beacon of hope for the new generation.

"In her teenage years, she came out on the roads against black laws and became an icon of hope", she said. She was in Congo and East Timor for the United Nations when atrocities there were directed mainly on women.

"Ms Asma Jahangir was a fearless lady who not only motivated other females to stand up for their rights but also helped them break the shackles of society's conservative minds", it adds.

In a condolence message to Asma's family, Pakistan Institute of Labour Education & Research Executive Director Karamat Ali and its staff expressed their profound sorrow and grief. Yet nothing stopped her from speaking out against injustice, whether it was at protest marches on the streets, interviews on television, or speeches at universities overseas.

This is what Asma Jahangir has been rewarded with in her passing, an endless trail of admirers and followers who will carry the torch she has so tenaciously held on to. Asma stood shoulder to shoulder with us in our opposition to the draconian cyber crime bill, and having her as an ally lifted our spirits and bolstered our cause.

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