U.S. Department Of State
Office of the Spokesperson
For Immediate Release
Statement By Heather Nauert, Spokesperson
February 13, 2018
We join Pakistan and others around the world in mourning the untimely death of Pakistani human rights and democracy advocate, Asma Jahangir. For years, she courageously defended the rights of those who did not have a voice, and championed the rule of law, democracy, and human rights including freedom of religion or belief. Her work in Pakistan, including as a founder and chair of the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan and former president of the Supreme Court Bar Association, and with the United Nations and groups such as the International Crisis Group and the South Asia Forum for Human Rights, made her a global icon in human rights.
Most recently she served as the Special Rapporteur on the Situation of Human Rights in Iran, tirelessly fighting on behalf of the Iranian people as they demanded freedom, dignity, and respect for human rights. As the third UN Special Rapporteur for Freedom of Religion or Belief, she improved the world’s understanding of the plight of religious minorities worldwide through her in-depth research and sustained engagements and fought for the protection of the persecuted.
Her death is a great loss to the world and she will be missed as a champion of her country, its people, and the millions more around the world on whose behalf she spoke.