Pakistan: Killing of seven NGO workers condemned – Government must act promptly to end reoccurrence of such incidents
4 January 2013 12:45 am
Asian Forum for Human Rights and Development (FORUM-ASIA) strongly condemns the brutal killing of seven non-governmental organization (NGO) workers in Pakistan. The regional human rights organization that represents 47 human rights organizations from 16 Asian countries including Pakistan urges the Government of Pakistan to take effective steps immediately to find the killers, bring them to justice and to ensure the protection of human rights defenders from such violent attacks.
On 31st December 2012, six female and one male worker of the NGO- Support With Working Solutions (SWWS), locally known as ‘Ujala’ were gunned down and the driver of their van was injured on their way home from a community centre at Swabi, about 40 miles from Islamabad. The NGO has been providing education and maternal health care in Swabi and other districts in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa of Pakistan.
“Such killings and attacks on NGO workers should never be tolerated. The government of Pakistan must investigate thoroughly to ensure that the killers are punished and the rule of law is upheld”, said Yap Swee Seng, the Executive Director of FORUM-ASIA.
In recent time a series of incidents have revealed that aid workers, human rights defenders and journalists are the target of extremist groups. In December 2012, in a series of attacks gunmen killed seven health workers who were taking part in a national polio vaccination campaign. On 9 October 2012, 14 year old activist Malala, along with her two other schoolmates sustained bullet injuries on their way back from the school. According to Committee to Protect journalists (CPJ), in 2012 alone there were seven journalists killed- five in targeted killings, making Pakistan the world’s deadliest country for the journalists for second consecutive year.
“Such continuous incidents and the failures from the state to protect human rights defenders underscore the widespread culture of impunity in Pakistan. There is an urgent need for the Government of Pakistan to show strong political will in stopping violence perpetrated by extremist groups”, stated Yap.
“These recent waves of grave human rights violations warrant the government of Pakistan to expedite the establishment of an independent and effective national human rights institution and to finalize the visit of the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Expression to help address the challenges”, Yap continues.
Yap further urged the international community to hold Pakistan accountable for being continuously failing to protect its citizens, especially since Pakistan has become a new member of the United Nations Human Rights Council in November 2012.
For further inquiries, please contact:
1. Mr. Sayeed Ahmad, FORUM-ASIA, Country Program Manager, +66842176150, email@example.com
2. Ahmed Abid, FORUM-ASIA, South Asia Program Officer, +66846719735, firstname.lastname@example.org