EU’s Ashton & UN rights chief now visiting Pakistan should oppose its bid to join top UN rights body


International campaign of 40 MPs & NGOs protest candidacy

Coalition from 19 countries including US, France, UK, Canada, Switzerland, Bahrain, Guinea, Kenya, Morocco, Nigeria, Somalia, Uganda

GENEVA, June 6, 2012 — EU foreign minister Catherine Ashton and UN rights chief Navi Pillay should use their high profile appearances in Pakistan this week to explain why the country is unqualified in its bid to join the UN’s top human rights body, said a Geneva-based rights group, which today launched an international campaign by 40 MPs and NGOs opposing Pakistan’s candidacy, and circulated a draft UN resolution to condemn Pakistani abuses.

“A government that turns a blind eye when women across the country are attacked with acid thrown on their faces simply does not merit appointment as a global judge of human rights,” said Hillel Neuer, the director of UN Watch, a non-governmental human rights organization, and an international lawyer.

“This week’s revelation by Asma Jahangir, a Pakistani rights champion and former special rapporteur of the UN Human Rights Council, that she was targeted by her country’s security forces only underscores the absurdity of Islamabad running uncontested for a seat on this body, and EU and UN leaders need to say so,” said Neuer.

The positions expressed so far by Ashton and Pillay appear “insufficiently firm,” worried Neuer. Ashton talked about EU support for Pakistan’s “consolidation of democracy,” while Pillay spokesman Rupert Colville described the visit by the UN High Commissioner of Human Rights as a “goodwill mission.”

The draft UN resolution circulated by the UN Watch-led coalition—activists and MPs from 19 countries including the USA, France, Britain, Canada, Switzerland, Bahrain, Guinea, Kenya, Morocco, Nigeria, Somalia and Uganda—would see the world body condemn Pakistan for a range of abuses.

Neuer noted the Human Rights Watch report this week that, in 2011, more than 300 rights activists in Balochistan were abducted, killed, and dumped on the roadside, largely by Pakistani security forces.

“Ashton and Pillay need to state clearly that a government which allows extrajudicial killings, enforced disappearances, and violent attacks against Christians, Shia, Ahmadis, and other Muslim and non-Muslim minorities, grants impunity to terror groups that murder people in the name of fighting blasphemy, and intimidates and attacks independent journalists, cannot be allowed to join the world’s highest human rights body,” said Neuer.

“Otherwise it will be one more case of the foxes guarding the chickens.”

The UN General Assembly is expected to elect 18 new members to the 47-nation council around October 2012. Pakistan is running uncontested on the slate assigned to Asian countries.



No to Pakistan: Joint Appeal by MPs, NGOs & Human Rights Activists

6 June 2012

We, the undersigned members of parliament, human rights activists and non-governmental organizations, strongly oppose the candidacy of Pakistan for the United Nations Human Rights Council. Having regard to its poor record on human rights protection at home, and its poor record in human rights promotion at the UN, the government of Pakistan fails to meet the minimum membership criteria established by the UN General Assembly. Instead, we urge the UN Human Rights Council to adopt this NGO-drafted Resolution on Pakistani abuses.

• Matteo Mecacci, Member of Italian Parliament, Chairman of Committee on Democracy, Human Rights and Humanitarian Questions of OSCE Parliamentary Assembly
• Riccardo Migliori, Member of the Italian Parliament, Vice President of the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly
• Denis MacShane, Member of the UK Parliament, former Minister for Europe
• Irwin Cotler, Member of Canadian Parliament, Liberal Critic for Human Rights, Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on International Human Rights
• Michael Danby, Member of Australian Parliament, Committee on Foreign Affairs
• Fiamma Nirenstein, Member of the Italian Parliament, Vice President of the Committee on Foreign Affairs
• Morten Hoglund, Member of Norwegian Parliament, Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee
• Karin S Woldseth, Member of Norwegian Parliament, Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee

  • Hillel Neuer, United Nations Watch, Switzerland
  • Dr. Yang Jianli, Chinese dissident and former political prisoner, Founder and President of Initiatives for China
  • Robert R. LaGamma, President, Council for a Community of Democracies, USA
  • Laurence Kwark, Secretary General, Pax Romana, ICMICA/MIIC, Switzerland
  • Javier El-Hage, General Counsel, Human Rights Foundation
  • Jacob Mchangama, Center for Political Studies, Denmark
  • Anyakwee Nsirimovu, Insitute of Human Rights and Humanitarian Law, Nigeria
  • Ali AlAhmed, The Gulf Institute, USA
  • Nazanin Afshin-Jam, President and Co-Founder, Stop Child Executions, Canada
  • John J. Suarez, International Secretary, Cuban Democratic Directorate
  • Nguyên Lê Nhân Quyên, Delegate, Vietnamese League for Human Rights, Switzerland
  • Dr. Francois Ullmann, President, Ingenieurs du Monde, Switzerland
  • Fazal-ur Rehman Afridi, Institut de recherche et d’études stratégiques de Khyber, France
  • Hu Ping, Chinese dissident, editor of Beijing Spring, former president of the Chinese Alliance for Democracy
  • Christina Fu, New Hope Foundation, President
  • Michael Craig, China Rights Network, President
  • Huang Hebian, The Alliance of the Guard of Canadian Values
  • Mamady Kaba, African Assembly for the Defense of Human Rights (RADHHO), Guinea
  • Ann J. Buwalda, Esq., Executive Director, Jubilee Campaign USA
  • Ali Egal, Fanole Human Rights & Development Organization (FAHRO), Somalia/Kenya
  • Jean Stoner, Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur, USA
  • Amina Bouayach, Morrocan Organisation For Human Rights, Morocco
  • Faisal Fulad, Gulf European Centre for Human Rights, UK
  • Dickson Ntwiga, Executive Director, Solidarity House International, Kenya
  • Faisal Hassan, Bahrain Human Rights Watch Society, Bahrain
  • Elizabeth Vanardenne, UN Rep, International Federation of Business & Professional Women
  • Yang Kuanxing, Chinese dissident, editor of Yibao and original signatory to Charter ‘08, the manifesto calling for political reform in China
  • Yuri Dzhibladze, Center for Development of Democracy & Human Rights, Russia
  • Huguette Chomski Magnis, Mouvement Pour la Paix et Contre le Terrorisme, France
  • Kabaale G Timothy, African Centre for Treatment and Rehabilitation of Torture Victims, Uganda
  • Gibreil I. M. Hamid, President, Darfur Peace and Development Centre, Switzerland
  • Galina Nechitailo, Vice-President, Environmental Women’s Assembly
  • Dan Mariaschin, Executive Vice President, B’nai B’rith International
  • Klaus Netter, Main Representative at UNOG, Coordinating Board of Jewish Organizations
UN Watch