Asma given UN human rights award

Published December 20, 2018
“I wish my mother was alive today to receive this prestigious UN award,” says daughter Munizae Jahangir. — File
“I wish my mother was alive today to receive this prestigious UN award,” says daughter Munizae Jahangir. — File

UNITED NATIONS: The late human rights activist and lawyer Asma Jahangir has been posthumously awarded the United Nations Human Rights Prize that was received by her daughter Munizae Jahangir at a grand ceremony on Tuesday.

The award was handed over to Ms Munizae, a journalist and human rights activist herself, by president of the General Assembly Maria Fernanda Espinosa, who conducted the proceedings in the General Assembly Hall before a large number of diplomats, human rights activists and senior UN officials.

“I wish my mother was alive today to receive this prestigious UN award,” Ms Munizae said after the ceremony. “The void left by her passing away cannot be filled,” she said in an emotionally charged voice.

UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres and UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet paid tributes to Asma Jahangir’s contributions to advancing human rights and rule of law.

The Human Rights Prize is awarded every five years to individuals and organisations in recognition of their outstanding contribution to the promotion and protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms.

Asma Jahangir was one of the four winners of the award which was announced by the UN in October.

Others who received the award were: Rebeca Gyumi, a Tanzanian activist for the rights of women and girls, Joenia Wapichana, a Brazilian activist for the rights of indigenous communities, and Front Line Defenders, an Irish organisation advocating and working for the protection of human rights.

Ms Jahangir — who passed away in February this year — was known for her unrelenting pursuit of human rights and for remaining undaunted in the face of extreme pressure and opposition.

Published in Dawn, December 20th, 2018

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