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Leading human rights activist Asma Jahangir passes away

12 February 2018

A leading human rights activist from Pakistan and close friend of the Commonwealth family has passed away.

Asma Jahangir, who was a member of the Commonwealth Eminent Persons Group, championed women’s rights throughout her career.

Having co-founded and chaired the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan, Asma went on to become the first woman to serve as president of the country’s Supreme Court Bar Association.

Among a number of other prominent positions, Asma also served as the UN Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions, as well as UN Special Rapporteur on freedom of religion and belief. At the time of her death Asma was the UN Special Rapporteur on the Situation of Human Rights in Iran.

Head of the Commonwealth’s Human Rights Unit, Karen McKenzie, said, “I was saddened to hear of Asma’s sudden passing. We have lost a fearless champion, a human rights defender who stood up for the rights of others at great sacrifice to herself and her family. She was a formidable supporter of the human rights and human dignity of all persons, as well as a force for good, for truth and for inclusion. She was a superb mentor and friend of the Human Rights Unit of the Commonwealth Secretariat, and we send our sincerest condolences to her family’’.