International Crisis Group is deeply saddened by the news of the death of Asma Jahangir, an outstanding Pakistani rights activist, the first female President of the Supreme Court Bar Association of Pakistan, a long-serving Special Rapporteur for the UN and a sixteen-year member of Crisis Group’s Board of Trustees. She died of apparent cardiac arrest in Lahore, aged 66.
“Asma modelled the values that we all care about so deeply at Crisis Group. She was a champion for human rights at home, often at considerable peril to herself, and abroad, where she had earned global authority and respect”, said Lord Malloch-Brown, Chairman of the Board. “Behind that she was passionately curious about the twists and turns of politics, always on top of the latest facts and rumours, which are so hard to separate in her native Pakistan. She had a relentless ambition to make things better”.
Jailed in 1983 for pro-democracy activities and put under house arrest in 2007 for protesting Pakistani state actions against the judiciary, Asma Jahangir joined Crisis Group’s Board of Trustees in 2002. Since 2016 she had served as the UN Special Rapporteur on human rights in Iran, having previously been the UN Special Rapporteur on Extrajudicial, Summary, or Arbitrary Executions from 1998 to 2004 and the UN Special Rapporteur on the Freedom of Religion or Belief from 2004 to 2010.
“Asma's death is a huge loss, not only to Crisis Group, of which she was such a good long-time friend, but to Pakistan, where her personal bravery made her a legend, and above all to all men and women fighting for human rights and justice around the world. She will be sorely missed”, said Robert Malley, President & CEO.