A tribute to Asma Jahangir, a champion for the disenfranchised

“Asma Jahangir showed great courage in standing up for human dignity and rights. She will be greatly missed” wrote on Twitter our Member from New Zealand, former Prime Minister Helen Clark. That was just one out of thousands of reactions from all over the world praising a woman that fought hard for other women, for a person that fought hard for the rights of all of us. 

Speaking truth to power was her daily routine. As the United Nations Secretary General and World Leadership Alliance – Club de Madrid Member, Antonio Guterres, has said “we have lost a human rights giant”. Ms. Jahangir was the current UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Iran, having assumed the position on 1 November 2016. Earlier, from 1998 to July 2004, she was the Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions, and from August 2004 to July 2010, the Special Rapporteur on freedom of religion or belief.

 

As a lawyer in her home country, Pakistan, she firmly stood against the military. She was once arrested during Zia’s time, survived an assassination attempt, and routinely got death threats. However, Asma Jahangir never stopped advocating for democracy, women’s rights, inclusion and interreligious tolerance and peace.