Press Statements - Pakistan

SAHR Mourns the Death of Mrs. Sithie Tiruchelvam


24 March 2014

SAHR Mourns the Death of Mrs. Sithie Tiruchelvam

South Asians for Human Rights (SAHR) mourns the death of Mrs. Sithie Tiruchelvam, human rights activist, Attorney-at-Law and former Bureau Member of SAHR, who passed away on 22 March 2014. She is also a founder member of the Foundations for Peace (FfP) network – a worldwide network of community foundations working on peace and reconciliation within communities and has also contributed to the work of the Nadesan Centre for Human Rights. She was also the founder of Neelan Tiruchelvam Trust (NTT) which she formed upon the death of her husband Dr. Neelan Tiruchelvam.

Sithie was appointed to the SAHR Bureau in the early stages of SAHR’s formation as a regional platform for human rights in South Asia and remained a bureau member till her term expired in November 2010. During this period she was responsible for the establishment and development of the SAHR Secretariat in Colombo, Sri Lanka. Sithie was a strong advocate for human rights, especially in Sri Lanka and South Asia and was a committed activist for social justice and peace. (more…)

SAHR Statement on Attack on Prisoners


South Asians for Human Rights (SAHR) condemns the attack on Sarabjit Singh in Pakistan prison on 26th April 2013 and on the Pakistani prisoner, Sanaullah, serving a life term in the high security Kot Balwal jail on the outskirts of Jammu, by a fellow inmate on 3rd May.

This attack comes as an immediate reaction to the attack and death of an Indian prisoner in a Pakistan jail, Sarabjit Singh, who died on 2nd May 2013 after fighting for his life for a week, on being attacked by fellow inmates.

The need of the hour is to stay calm and sane and to observe restrain. We need to uphold the virtues of decency and justice. SAHR strongly feels that reactionary politics and violence of any form is no solution to any problem.

As Gandhiji said, “an eye for an eye will make the whole world blind”. The region’s best tribute to Sarabjit’s memory will be to make sure that no prisoner is ill-treated in any country. (more…)

SAHR Statement on International Women’s Day 2013


8th March 2013

South Asians for Human Rights (SAHR), a regional network of human rights defenders, joins the messages of solidarity expressed throughout the world to mark International Women’s Day on 8th March 2013.

This year, the UN theme for International Women’s Day is “A promise is a promise: Time for action to end violence against women”, one that is unfortunately relevant to South Asia.

Global campaigns such as 16 days of activism and One Billion Rising are positive signs of an increasingly proactive approach from men and women, to stop violence against women. However, while SAHR acknowledges that there continues to be a shift in the attitude of many South Asian societies with regards to women’s equality and emancipation, still injustice, discrimination, and violence persist in the most terrible of forms.

Over the past year alone, acts of violence against women have captured the World’s attention; The attempted killing of a 15 year old women’s rights activist in Pakistan; The brutal gang rape and subsequent death of a student in Delhi; The recent ruling in the Maldives where a teenager was sentenced to 100 lashes, despite being the victim of rape; The execution of a Sri Lankan housemaid working in Saudi Arabia, after being held on death row for six years; The assassinations of two directors of the Department of Women’s Affairs in Laghman province, Afghanistan, for their work on women’s issues. These are just a few examples, and while the attention that these tragedies have received in the media and among the public are vital to redressing the wrongs that plague women in South Asia, firm action needs to be taken by South Asian societies and those that govern them. (more…)

SAHR expresses concern over growing religious terrorism in Pakistan


South Asians for Human Rights (SAHR) expresses deep concern at the growing religious terrorism in Pakistan that is daily targeting people on the basis of their faith. The first ten days of January alone has seen two major attacks on members of the Shia sect in Balochistan, including those from Hazara community, killing hundreds of people. The fact that banned sectarian groups openly claim responsibility and the government appears helpless or unwilling to act against them is a sad commentary on the state of callous disregard for human life.

The unchecked growth of religious militancy has also affected the work of NGOs, civil society and human rights defenders. Among those killed in the massacre in Quetta on 10 January was Irfan Khudi Ali, a committed rights activist who had stepped out of his house to help blast victims. Parts of the country have seen increasing violence against NGO workers, particularly women. They have been kidnapped or shot dead in broad daylight. Among those recently killed are female polio vaccinators who were performing their duties in Karachi and Peshawar. (more…)

SAHR Statement on exchange of fire and killings along the Line of Control


SAHR is deeply disturbed with the recent exchange of firing and report of the beheading of two Indian jawans along the LoC. The firing and killing of two Indian and one Pakistani jawan is highly deplorable and no sane person or society can accept such unwarranted and gruesome incidences. The said incidences have a potential to derail the ongoing peace process that has shown remarkable progress in recent times in easing the visa regime, improving trade relations and securing many other confidence building measures that hold great promise for both the countries.

Initially Pakistan alleged one Pakistani soldier was killed and another injured in an unprovoked Indian firing and accordingly they summoned Indian Deputy High Commissioner Mr. Gopal Baglay and lodged their protest. The report of Pakistani troops crossing LoC in the Mendhar sector of Jammu & Kashmir on Monday and killing two Lance Naik’s is also shocking. The report also says that the body of one of the soldiers was mutilated. India summoned Pakistan’s High Commissioner to protest the gruesome incident. If true, it is reprehensible and must be thoroughly investigated to punish the guilty and ensure such terrible incidences do not recur. (more…)

SAHR release on the passing of Shri I K Gujral


South Asians for Human Rights (SAHR) mourns the death of Shri I. K. Gujral, Former Prime Minister of India and the Founding Chair of SAHR. Shri Gujral made his mark as a global leader and a visionary for peace. An astute politician and a true statesman, he won respect and credibility not only in his own country but globally. He played a significant role in charting a course for better relations between India and Pakistan and his “Gujral Doctrine” has received acclaim and following amongst those sections of the population in both countries that value progress and development. (more…)

SAHR Statement on the International Day of the Disappeared, 2012


South Asians for Human Rights (SAHR) joins human rights activists around the World in commemorating the International Day of the Disappeared.

The practice by State actors of forcibly disappearing and illegally detaining someone, without acknowledging their arrest or whereabouts, places the victim outside the protection of the law and is often linked to the crimes of torture and extra-judicial killings. (more…)

SAHR Statement on International Day in Support of Victims of Torture


26th June 2012

South Asians for Human Rights (SAHR) joins human rights activists around the World, in commemorating the International Day in Support of Victims of Torture. This year, the day marks the 25th anniversary of United Nations Convention Against Torture coming into effect.

Despite the fact that this Convention has been in force for a quarter century, only 147 States are party to it. Of the South Asian states, all but Bhutan have signed it, and India is yet to ratify the Convention. (more…)

SAHR Statement on the threat to Asma Jahangir’s life


South Asians for Human Rights (SAHR) expresses great concern over the threat made to Asma Jahangir’s life. On Monday evening, Asma revealed on Pakistani media that she had received credible information, that there was a plan by state actors to assassinate her.

Asma has always been a fierce defender of human rights, and strong critic of those who violate them. Her continuing criticism of the military and State security apparatus, particularly with regards to their actions in Balochistan, have made her a foe to these actors. (more…)

Statement Issued by SAHR on International Women’s Day 2012


South Asians for Human Rights (SAHR), a regional network of human rights defenders, joins the messages of solidarity expressed throughout the world to mark International Women’s Day on March 8th, 2012.

This year, International Women’s Day is inspired by the theme of “Empower Rural Women – End Hunger and Poverty”. While this is a day for solidarity among women and a celebration of their accomplishments, it is also a day to remind the world that equal rights and opportunities for women are human rights imperatives and inalienable rights of women. (more…)

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