Islamabad: United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has expressed sorrow at the demise of prominent human rights defender and UN Special Rapporteur Asma Jahangir, who passed away at the age of 66 on Sunday. “We have lost a human rights giant,” said Guterres in a statement by the UN office on Monday.
Doctors said Jahangir suffered brain hemorrhage following a stroke and passed away at the hospital. Her funeral is scheduled to be held at 2PM on Tuesday, February 13, at Gaddafi Stadium in Lahore. “Asma was brilliant, deeply principled, courageous and kind […] She will not be forgotten,” Guterres added, expressing his condolences to Jahangir’s family, friends and colleagues, including in the UN and civil society.
According to the statement, Jahangir was the current UN special rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Iran, having assumed the position on November 1, 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.
The Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), which supports special rapporteurs and independent experts in the discharge of their mandate, also expressed its sadness at Jahangir’s passing. “She was a legendary human rights defender: pioneering, determined, calm, courageous – and a lovely human being,” the office said in a tweet posted on its official account.