Peshawar: The human rights defenders of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, in a joint press conference demanded of the government to adopt a new law on the protection of human rights defenders as promised by the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Government in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Human Rights Policy, notified in 2018 by the Law, Human Rights and Parliamentary Affairs Department.

They lauded the KP government that has shown interest in the safety and protection of human rights defenders by promising a law, so that they can continue their legitimate and lawful activities without any fear of violence and intimidation, however, little effort has been done by the government to materialize this promise.

Advocate Zeenat Mohib Kakakhel Advocate Peshawar High court and an education rights activist said “Protection strategies must adapt to better accommodate and foster these holistic strategies, and new ways of thinking, to keep activists and organizations safe while also challenging the deep inequalities that take shape around gender, race, class, and expressions.”

Taimur Kamal, Coordinator of the Pakhtunkhwa Civil Society Network (PCSN), said, “It is the right time that the provincial government shows it commitment to support the rights to freedom of expression and freedom of association which are guaranteed under international human rights law and also by the constitution of Pakistan” .

Imran Takkar, a prominent human rights activist said “Human rights defenders are at greater risk than ever today because powerful actors are responding to the interests of capitalist, and really have no laws in place to protect human rights defenders. This is one of the great problems we face today.”

Civil Society organizations of the province encouraged the KP government to continue their work to guarantee the best possible protection to human rights defenders through the process of enacting the law and ensuring, that it is in line with the UN Declaration on Human Rights Defenders and other relevant instruments. To this end, they reiterate their willingness and availability to accompany the authorities through this process.

Human rights activists urge the government to provide legal recognition and protection