CLAAS has expressed its concern over Pakistan’s position in voting against the United Nations General Assembly resolution for recognising the role of human rights defenders and need for their protection in Pakistan.

On 25 November 2015, the United Nations General Assembly passed a resolution on recognising the role of human rights defenders and the need for their protection but Pakistan is among 14 countries – China, Russia, Syria, Burundi, Kenya, Myanmar, Nigeria, Saudi Arabia, Zimbabwe, North Korea, South Africa, Iran, and Sudan – who voted against the resolution.

While 40 additional countries – Algeria, Angola, Azerbaijan, Bahrain, Belarus, Bolivia, Brunei Darussalam, Cameroon, CAR, Comoros, Congo, Cote d’Ivoire, Cuba, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Ecuador, Egypt, Eritrea, Fiji, Iraq, Kazakhstan, Kuwait, Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Mali, Mauritania, Mozambique, Namibia, Nicaragua, Niger, Oman, Qatar, Swaziland, Tajikistan, Togo, Uganda, United Arab Emirates, United republic of Tanzania, Uzbekistan, Venezuela, Vietnam, and Yemen – abstained from the vote.

It is no coincidence that in all these countries human rights defenders are routinely targeted because of their peaceful human rights work. They are smeared in the media, are dismissed from their jobs, receive death threats and are sometimes killed.

Norway and those 117 countries who voted in favour of the resolution are to be congratulated for holding the line against those governments who see the promotion and protection of human rights, and the recognition of the vital role of human rights defenders, as a threat to their own power and privileges.

The resolution includes a number of new provisions recognising the important work of human rights defenders.

If members of the UN are serious about those at risk, then they must resist any and all attempts to weaken the text of the annual resolution.

The resolution does include a number of new, important provisions recognising the vital work of human rights defenders.

Nasir Saeed Director CLAAS-UK said that CLAAS welcomes the passing of the UN General Assembly resolution, titled ‘Recognizing the role of human rights defenders and the need for their protection’.

He added that the situation of human rights continues to deteriorate in Pakistan, and human defenders are often threatened with death and many have been killed. However Mr Saeed said that civil society continues to defending people’s rights, especially those of the poor and needy.