Statement by the NGO Forum expressing its solidarity to Ms Hina Jilani, the UN Special Representative of the Secretary General on Human Rights Defenders
Brazzaville, 11 November 2007
We, representatives of more than an hundred african and international organizations meeting at the NGO Forum preceding the 42nd Ordinary Session of the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights being held in Congo Brazzaville, have been informed that Ms Jilani, a United Nations human rights expert from Pakistan has been issued a house arrest order for 90 days, following the state of emergency declared by the President of Pakistan, General Musharraf, on 3 November 2007. We are very concerned that Ms Jilani, presently outside Pakistan, will be arrested if she returns to Pakistan. Another United Nations human rights expert, Ms Asma Jahangir, the Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Religion or Belief, has already been served with a house arrest order for 90 days.
Considering the prominent role that Ms Jilani has played in the protection of human rights defenders in Africa, the NGO Forum is very concerned with the adoption of such arbitrary measures. We consider this measure not only a violation of international human rights law governing states of emergency and the United Nations rules on privileges and immunities, but also a flagrant violation of the United Nations 1998 Declaration on Human Rights Defenders.
The NGO Forum wishes to express its deep solidarity to Ms Jilani and urges President Mushrraf to withdraw immediately and without conditions the house arrest order concerning Ms Jilani as well as Ms Asma Jahangir.