Pakistan
26.09.02
Urgent Interventions

Pakistan: Killing of seven members of the Institute for Peace and Justice

URGENT APPEAL - THE OBSERVATORY


PAK 001/0902/ OBS 058
Killing / Freedom of religion/ Threats to life
PAKISTAN
26 September 2002


The Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders, a joint programme of the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH) and the World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT), requests your urgent intervention in the following situation in Pakistan.

Brief description:

The Observatory has been informed by the Asian Human Rights Commission of the killing of seven staff members of the Institute for Peace and Justice (IPJ) occurred on 25th September 2002 in Karachi, Pakistan.

According to the information received, unidentified gunmen entered the third-floor offices of the IPJ and shot their victims in the head. The police said the victims had their hands tied and their mouths had been covered with tape. One other person who was injured is now in a critical condition.
As a witness to the attack, the Observatory is very concerned for this person’s safety.

The Institute for Peace and Justice, a Christian charity organization, has been operating for the past thirty years focusing on helping the poorest sections of society, working to obtain basic employment rights for municipal and textile workers and running programmes with local human rights groups.

The Observatory notes that this attack occurs in the context of an increase in human rights violations in Pakistan and several attacks against the Christian community, in particular after September 11th, 2001.

Concerning this last attack, human rights organizations in Pakistan have condemned the attack and criticized the failure of the government to protect religious minorities. In particular they have been critical of statements made by the federal minister for law, Khalid Ranjha in which he said that NGOs are working against the national interest of the country. In the actual context, such declarations are putting human rights activists and minority activists at great risk and are contrary to the Declaration on Human Rights Defenders adopted by the UN General Assembly in December 1998 and in particular with the duty of the State to protect “everyone, individually and in association with others, against any violence, threats, retaliation, de facto or de jure adverse discrimination, pressure or any other arbitrary action as a consequence of his or her legitimate exercise of the rights referred to in the present declaration." (art. 12.2).
According to the reports received, the police is exploring all avenues, including a possible link with the murder of the IPJ former chairperson, Ivan Moon four months ago who was found dead in his office after being injected with poison or a link with recent attacks on Christian and Western targets carried out by activists opposed to the US presence in neighbouring Afghanistan.
The Observatory wishes to express its solidarity with the families of the victims and urges the authorities to take all measures to protect human rights and minority rights activists and to identify those responsible for this attack.

Actions requested:
Please write to the Pakistani authorities urging them to:
i. Guarantee the security and physical integrity of those injured in the attack in all circumstances, as well as other human rights and minority rights activists since they are at great risk, in particular through statements recognizing the work carried out by them;
ii.Order an immediate investigation into the killings in order to identify those responsible, bring them to trial and apply the sanctions provided by law;

iii. Put an end to all forms of harassement and violence against Human Rights Defenders and ensure the implementation of the provisions of the Declaration on Human Rights Defenders adopted by the UN general Assembly on December 9, 1998 in particular its article 1, which provides that "every person has the right, individually or collectively, to promote the protection and fulfilment of human rights and fundamental liberties at the national and international level" and article 12: “The State shall take all necessary measures to ensure the protection by the competent authorities of everyone, individually and in association with others, against any violence, threats, retaliation, de facto or de jure adverse discrimination, pressure or any other arbitrary action as a consequence of his or her legitimate exercise of the rights referred to in the present declaration.";
iv. Guarantee the respect of human rights and fundamental freedoms in accordance with the Universal Declaration on Human Rights.
Adresses:
General Pervez Musharraf
Chief Executive of Islamic Republic of Pakistan
Prime Minister House, Islamabad, Pakistan
Fax: +92 51 9201893, 9201835 or 9204632
Email: CE@pak.gov.pk

Dr. Khalid Ranjha
Minister for Law, Justice, Human Rights and Parliamentary Affairs
'S' Block Pak Secretariat, Islamabad
PAKISTAN
Fax: +92 51-9202628
Email: molaw1@comsats.net.pk


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Geneva-Paris, 26 September 2002

Kindly inform us of any action undertaken, quoting the reference number given above.

The Observatory, an FIDH and OMCT venture, is dedicated to the protection of Human Rights Defenders and aims to offer them concrete support in their time of need.

The Observatory was the winner of the 1998 Human Rights Prize of the French Republic.

To contact the Observatory, call the emergency line
Tel and fax FIDH +33 (0) 1 43 55 20 11 / 01 43 55 18 80
Tel and fax OMCT + 4122 809 49 39 / 41 22 809 49 29
E-mail : observatoire@iprolink.ch
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