Asma Jahangir wins UN Human Rights Prize posthumously

Pakistan's late human rights activist and lawyer Asma Jahangir was posthumously awarded the 2018 UN Human Rights Prize. She was the first woman to serve as the president of Pakistan's Supreme Court Bar Association.

Oct 27, 2018 11:01 IST
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Asma Jahangir, late Pakistani human rights activist and lawyer was posthumously announced as one of the winners of the UN Human Rights Prize on October 26, 2018.The announcement was made through the official Twitter account of President of the UN General Assembly Maria Fernanda Espinosa Garces.

Jahangir was chosen for the prize  along with three other including Rebeca Gyumi of Tanzania, Brazil's first indigenous lawyer Joenia Wapichana and Ireland's human rights organisation Front Line Defenders,

Before Jahangir only three Pakistani women, Begum Ra'ana Liaquat Ali Khan (1978), Benazir Bhutto (2008) and Malala Yousufzai (2013) have been accorded the honour.       
About Asma Jahangir

Asma Jahangir, who passed away on February 11, 2018 due to cardiac arrest at the of 66, was known for her outspoken nature and unrelenting pursuit of human rights as well as for remaining undaunted in the face of extreme pressure and opposition.

She was the first woman to serve as the president of Pakistan's Supreme Court Bar Association.

She vehemently opposed military strongmen in Pakistan and fought her battles both on the streets and courts, steadfastly championing the rights of women, minorities and LGBTs.

In 1987, Jahangir co-founded the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan and became its Secretary-General. In 1993, she was elevated as the commission's chairperson.

She also co-chaired South Asia Forum for Human Rights and was the vice president of International Federation for Human Rights.

In between 1998-2000 , Jahangir served as the Special Rapporteur of the UN Commission on Extrajudicial, Summary and Arbitrary Executions

From 2004 to 2010, she served as the  Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Religion or Belief of the UN Commission on Human Rights.

In 2016, she was named as the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the situation of Human Rights in Iran, remaining till until her death in February 2018.

Overall, she is remembered as a champion of the disenfranchised and for her services towards building a democratic and more inclusive Pakistan.


Jahangir is the recipient of several awards including the 2014 Right Livelihood Award along with Edward Snowden, 2010 Freedom Award, Hilal-i-Imtiaz in 2010, Sitara-i-Imtiaz, Ramon Magsaysay Award in 2005, 1995 Martin Ennals Award for Human Rights Defenders and the UNESCO/Bilbao Prize for the Promotion of a Culture of Human Rights.

She was awarded the Legion of Honour by France, the highest French order of merit for military and civil merits, in 2014.

In 2016, she received a honorary degree from the University of Pennsylvania Law School. Her writings include The Hudood Ordinance: A Divine Sanction? and Children of a Lesser God.


About UN Human Rights Prize

The United Nations Prize in the Field of Human Rights is an honorary award given for outstanding achievement in human rights.

Prize was established by the UN General Assembly in 1966 and was awarded for the first time on December 10, 1968, on the twentieth anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

The Prize is an opportunity not only to give public recognition to the achievements of the recipients themselves, but also to send a clear message to human rights defenders the world over that the international community is grateful for, and supports, their tireless efforts to promote all human rights for all.

The 2018 award ceremony will take place on December 10 on World Human Rights Day in New York.

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