Pakistan: Protect human rights defenders and ensure justice for murdered activists
Farida Afridi working in her office. (Photo: Express Tribune)
Equality Now has issued an Alert calling on the Government of Pakistan to ensure that the murders of activists Farida Afridi and Zarteef Khan Afridi are immediately and fully investigated and prosecuted and to ensure the safety of human rights defenders, particularly women.
On 4 July 2012 Farida Afridi, Executive Director of women’s rights organization Sawera based in Northwest Pakistan, was shot to death outside her home after facing threats for her women’s rights work. Additionally, in December 2011, Zarteef Khan Afridi, a coordinator of the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP), was similarly murdered, reportedly by extremist elements from the same region. A suspect has been arrested in Farida’s murder but the perpetrators in Zarteef Khan Afridi’s case remain at large.
Threats to the lives of human rights defenders are common in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) province and the neighboring FATA region, and they are routinely criticized for their work to further the rights of women and accused of promoting a ‘western agenda.’ The provincial government has not taken any steps to protect human rights activists and rights groups working in KP and FATA are losing staff whose lives and safety are threatened. This is particularly concerning as the region is rampant with violations of women and girls’ rights and NGOs working there urgently need the encouragement, support and protection of the government.
Please join Equality Now in supporting the Charter of Demands drafted by the End Violence against Women and Girls (EVAW/G) Alliance KP & FATA and calling on Pakistani authorities 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