United Nations, September 9
Raising issues over threats to journalists and human rights defenders, particularly ladies, in Pakistan, a prime UN physique has referred to as on the nation’s management to unequivocally condemn incitement to violence towards spiritual minorities and encourage respect for range of opinion.
Rupert Colville, Spokesperson for the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, mentioned in Geneva on Tuesday that the UN’s human rights physique has adopted with “increasing concern” quite a few cases of incitement to violence – on-line and offline – towards journalists and human rights defenders in Pakistan, particularly towards ladies and minorities.
“Especially worrying are accusations of blasphemy – which might put accused people at imminent danger of violence,” he mentioned in a press release.
The UN human rights physique calls on the Pakistani management to unequivocally condemn incitement to violence towards spiritual minorities and “what appears to be an increase in the use of blasphemy laws for personal or political score-settling. We call on them to encourage respect for diversity of opinion.”
The assertion mentioned that final yr, at the least 4 journalists and bloggers had been killed in reference to their reporting. Among them was Arooj Iqbal, a girl who was shot lifeless in Lahore as she sought to launch her personal native newspaper. This month, journalist Shaheena Shaheen was shot lifeless by unidentified males in Balochistan’s Kech district.
Colville mentioned that the workplace of the High Commissioner has raised issues immediately with the Pakistan authorities and “we have now urged instant, concrete steps to make sure the safety of journalists and human rights defenders who’ve been subjected to threats.
“We also stress the need for prompt, effective, thorough and impartial investigations with a view to ensuring accountability in cases of violence and killings,” he mentioned, including that victims and their households have the fitting to justice, reality and reparations.
The UN company inspired the Pakistan authorities to handle impediments to the lively safety of the fitting to freedom of expression, together with by finishing up authorized reforms equivalent to these beneficial by the UN Human Rights Committee and different worldwide human rights mechanisms.
Colville famous that Pakistani ladies journalists final month publicly warned of what they described as a “coordinated campaign” of social media assaults towards those that have been vital of presidency insurance policies.
“In the vast majority of such cases, those responsible have not been investigated, prosecuted and held to account,” it mentioned. –PTI