Speaker - Asma Jahangir

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Asma Jahangir is currently the President of the Supreme Court Bar Association of Pakistan and has been twice elected as Chairperson of the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan. She is also a Director of the AGHS Legal Aid Cell, which provides free legal assistance to the needy. Jahangir was instrumental in the formation of the Punjab Women Lawyers Association in 1980 and the Women Action Forum in 1985. She was placed under house arrest and later imprisoned for participating in the movement to restore political and fundamental rights under the military regime in 1983. Due to her efforts to secure justice for disadvantaged groups, she has been frequently threatened by militant groups. Jahangir has authored two books and five papers. She has received honorary Doctor of Law degrees from the University of St. Gallen, Switzerland, Queen's University, Canada, and Amherst College, USA. She has been the recipient of a number of international and national awards, among them the Ramon Magsaysay Award in 1995.

In 1998, Mrs. Jahangir was appointed United Nations Special Rapporteur on Extrajudicial, Summary or arbitrary execution of the Commission on Human Rigths and in 2004 she was appointed United Nation Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Religion or Belief of the Council of Human Rights.

She served as a leading figure in the campaign waged by the women activists against the promulgation of the controversial Hadood Ordinances and draft law on evidence. Moreover, she has defended cases of discrimination against religious minorities, women and children. Ms. Jahangir represented several clients who were denied their fundamental rights. Notable amongst them are the cases she fought for brick kiln workers, who are mostly bonded labourers in Pakistan, and tried in setting for them a legislation passed through the parliament in favour of bonded workers.

She has authored two books: Divine Sanction? The Hadood Ordinance (1988) and Children of a Lesser God: Child Prisoners of Pakistan (1992).

Asma is recipient of several national awards, including Sitara-I-Imtiaz in 1995. In recognition of her services in the field of human rights, she was awarded the American Bar Association International Human Rights Award in 1992, the Martin Ennals Award and the Ramon Magsaysay Award in 1995.

2 Programs

ASIL Annual Dinner

03.30.12 | 00:55:29 min | 0 comments

2012 Butcher Medal Award Winner Speech by Asma Jahangir

03.30.12 | 00:52:48 min | 0 comments