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UN urges investigation into killing of journalists in Pakistan

The UN has called on the Pakistani government to investigate a series of abductions, disappearances and extrajudicial killings that have been targeting journalists and political activists.

At least 16 journalists were killed in 2010, while 25 people including writers and political activists were killed in the troubled province of Balochistan in the first four months of 2011 alone.

In March, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay spoke out against the increasing trend of violence in the province and now the UN have asked for an inquiry into the cases.

Rupert Colville of the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights said:

“We call on all responsible parties to immediately stop such violations of human rights, and we urge the Government to take immediate steps to independently investigate these cases.”

Amnesty International also appealed to the Pakistani authorities “to ensure a prompt and thorough investigation into the circumstances around the killing or abuse of journalists, and bring those responsible to justice in fair trials that are consistent with internationally recognised standards of human rights.”

Citing the investigation into the killing of journalist Saleem Shahzad by the government as “encouraging”, the group went on to say “Pakistan’s political parties and authorities must send the message that perpetrators of human rights violations are not above the law”.

See our earlier post:

Pakistan prosecutes its paramilitary soldiers for extrajudicial killing (Aug 2011)