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A Joint Statement from a group of NGOs that attended the seventh International Colloquium on Human Rights in Sao Paolo, Brazil, organised by NGO Conectas

We the undersigned wish to express our grave concern regarding the ongoing political and human rights crisis in Pakistan. As we meet in Sao Paolo, Brazil for the seventh International Colloquium on Human Rights, organised by NGO Conectas, which aims to strengthen human rights in the South, we note with shock the ongoing crackdown in Pakistan, in which our colleagues are being targeted and fundamental rights have been suspended. Please click here to download the statement prepared by Conectas in English and Portuguese.

On November 3, 2007, General Musharraf unconstitutionally imposed a state of emergency in Pakistan, three days before the Supreme Court risked ruling against the validity of his October 6 presidential election victory. General Musharraf claims that emergency rule was required to curb terrorism and control an unruly judiciary. Parliamentary elections scheduled for January could now also be delayed by up to a year.

Under a Provisional Constitutional Order replacing the country's constitution, fundamental rights have been suspended, notably: the right to security of the person; the freedoms of movement, expression and assembly; and the protection from indefinite detention without charge. Those arrested can be denied access to lawyers. The Supreme Court has been banned from rescinding the emergency order.

An estimated 3500 lawyers, 500 human rights defenders, 100 political workers and 12 journalists have been arrested during raids on courts, lawyers' homes and NGOs, and the repression of demonstrations. Pakistan's Chief Justice, Mr. Iftekhar Choudhry, was forcibly removed from the Supreme Court and is under house arrest, as are 14 Supreme Court and 46 high court judges. The press is being severely censored, with at least two major FM radio  stations and four television channels having been attacked and prevented from broadcasting. At least 15 prominent political leaders have also been arrested. Around 70 human rights activists from the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan were arrested during a meeting in Lahore, while some 30 activists have been beaten in Islamabad. Ms. Asma Jahangir, the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the freedom of religion or belief, is under house arrest for 90 days. Ms. Hina Jilani, the UN Special Representative of the Secretary! -General on the situation of human rights defenders, has been threatened with arrest if she returns to the country. There are significant fears that further arrests, ill-treatment and bloodshed will follow against all those that continue to resist the illegal actions of the military government.

We hereby express our solidarity with Pakistan's people at this difficult time and strongly condemn the illegal, unconstitutional and brutal actions being taken by General Musharraf. We call for the immediate withdrawal of the state of emergency, for the release of all persons arrested during this crisis, for the constitution, fundamental freedoms and the judiciary to be restored, and for the holding of free and fair elections as planned in January 2008. We elcome the Netherlands' decision to halt aid to General Musharraf and urge all actors, notably the United States, the European Union and the United Nations, to take the necessary measures required to ensure that democracy and the protection of human rights are immediately guaranteed in Pakistan. In particular, we urge the United Nations' General Assembly to suspend Pakistan from the organisation's Human Rights Council.

Akemi Kamimura, Conectas Direitos Humanos, Brazil
Amita Dhanda Nalsar, Hyderabad University of Law, India
Basil Fernando, Asian Human Rights Commission, Hong Kong
Carla Marina da Paixão Félix Magalhães, Acção Humana, Angola
Carlos Andres Perez, CEDHUL, Colombia
Catharina Nakashima, Conectas Direitos Humanos, Brazil
Cecília Gregória Cassapi Augusto,Associação Construindo Comunidades,Angola
Chinelo Chinwe-Ekene Aroh, Public and Private Rights Watch, Nigeria
Cristian Hernán Gómez Navarro,Corporación para el Desarrollo del Oriente Compromiso,Colombia
Darío Esteban Abdala, ANDHES, Argentina
Denise Conselheiro, Conectas, Brazil
Ermelinda Lucrecia K. Muachiteca, Associação Construindo Cominidades, Angola
Estella Libardi de Souza,Sociedade Paraense de Defesa dos Direitos Humanos (SDDH),Brazil
Florentino Joaquim I! nácio, Associação Luta pela VIHda, Angola
Gabriela Yapor,Instituto de Solidaridad y Desarollo (ISODE),Uruguay
Gerardo Saravia López de Castilla,Instituto de Defensa Legal (IDL),Peru
Godinho Cristóvão, Associação Justiça, Paz e Democracia (AJPD), Angola
Gugu Ngobese Thabethe, Institute for Democracy in South Africa (IDASA), South Africa
Isabel Coral Cordero,Centro de Promoción y Desarrollo Poblacional (CEPRODEP),Peru
Isabella Henriques, Instituto Alana, Brazil
Itai Zimunya, Open Society - OSISA, Zimbabwe
Javier Palummo,Comité de Derechos del Niño - Uruguay,Uruguay
Jeudy Oeung,Cambodian Human Rights Action Committee (CHRAC),Cambodia
José Rosario Marroquín Farrera ,Centro de Derechos Humanos Miguel Agustín Pro Juárez A.C,México
Juana Kweitel, Conectas Direitos Humanos, Brazil
Julie Gromellon, FIDH, Sw! itzerland
Julie Middleton,CIVICUS: World Alliance for Citizen Par ticipation,South Africa
Jureuda Duarte Guerra,Movimento de Luta Antimanicomial (MLA),Brasil
Lucas Muntingh, CSPRI, South Africa
Maira Solange Hari, Fórum Mulher, Mozambique
Mariana Parra, Conectas Direitos Humanos, Brazil
Marysol Francogoes, Conectas Direitos Humanos, Brazil
Michael Anthony, Asian Legal Resource Centre, Hong Kong
Nana Ngema, SA Treatment Action Campaign, South Africa
Nermine Wally,Euromed Role of Women in Economic Life,Egypt
Neusa das Dores Pereira,Centro de Documentação e Informação Coisa de Mulher,Brasil
Noé Dias Mateus ,Rede Nacional de Pesoas Vivendo com o VIH,Angola
Nusair Samara,Agricultural Development Association (PARC),Palestine
Raphael Garcia, Conectas Direitos Humanos, Brazil
Renata de Sauza, Brazil
Rodrigo Salvador Lachi, ILANUD,Brasil
Rosa Beltran, Conectas Dereitos Humanos, Brazil/US
Rosario Irupe Gonzales Icaza,Instituto de! Defensa Legal (IDL),Peru
Santosh Babu Sigdel, Freedom Forum, Nepal
Severine Catca, France
Sharad Sharma,World Comics India,India
Thamsanga Ngenya, Centre for Public Participation, South Africa
Valcirana Vieira da Maia, Coletivo de Mulheres Negras Esperança Garcia, Brazil
Vinicius Anave Rodrigues Pinto, Conectas Direitos Humanos, Brazil
Zeka Alberto,Legal Assistance Centre,Namibia

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About AHRC: The Asian Human Rights Commission is a regional non-governmental organisation monitoring and lobbying human rights issues in Asia. The Hong Kong-based group was founded in 1984. The above statement has only been forwarded by the AHRC.


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