A Press Release from Front Line Defenders forwarded by the Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC)
Perveen Rehman was a social and economic rights defender
On 13 March 2013, human rights defender Ms Perveen Rehman was shot and killed by armed motorcyclists, close to her offices. Perveen Rehman was a social and economic rights defender, working with communities in the slums of Karachi. She was director of the Orangi Pilot Project, one of Pakistan's most successful non-for-profit social programmes, which helps local communities escape from poverty. Perveen Rehman had recently been documenting the situation in villages close to Karachi, which are affected by land grabbers and religious extremists.
On 13 March 2013, as Perveen Rehman arrived at her offices in a car, armed men travelling on two motorcycles approached her and opened fire, shooting her twice on the face and once on the neck. The human rights defender was rushed to the local Abbasi Shaheed Hospital, where she subsequently died of her wounds.
Perveen Rehman had previously reported being subjected to death threats. On one occasion, an armed man reportedly stormed her offices and ordered staff to leave.
On 14 March 2013, student and several civil society organisations, including Shirkatgah, Human Rights Commission of Pakistan, Awami Workers Party and Home-Based Women Workers Federation, held a protest against the killing of the human rights defender.
Front Line Defenders condemns the killing of Perveen Rehman, and believes it to be motivated by her peaceful and legitimate human rights work, in particular her work to defend the rights of marginalised communities in the village and slums of Karachi.
Front Line Defenders urges the authorities in Pakistan to:
1. Initiate an immediate, thorough and impartial investigation into the killing of Perveen Rehman, with a view to publishing the results and bringing those responsible to justice in accordance with international standards;
2. Guarantee in all circumstances that all human rights defenders in Pakistan are able to carry out their legitimate human rights activities without fear of reprisals and free of all restrictions, including physical violence and death threats.
# # #
About AHRC: The Asian Human Rights Commission is a regional non-governmental organisation that monitors human rights in Asia, documents violations and advocates for justice and institutional reform to ensure the protection and promotion of these rights. The Hong Kong-based group was founded in 1984.