UN appalled by death sentence for dancing women in Pakistan

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Navi Pillay

The death sentence imposed on five women in Pakistan for allegedly dancing at a wedding has been condemned by the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay.

Speaking at the end of her four day visit to the country, Ms Pillay said the sentence was symbolic of restrictions, dangers and lack of fundamental human rights for women in Pakistani.

Patrick Maigua reports from Geneva.

The five women from were condemned to death in by a local justice system known as jirga in the Pakistani northern district of Kohistan. Ms Pillay said although the country was enacting laws to protect women and girls from violence, the human rights situation of women in rural Pakistan was grim and called for immediate actions and interventions. She expressed concern over allegations of extrajudicial killings, detention and enforced disappearances in the context of counter terrorism and called for investigations and those responsible for the violations brought to justice. She urged the government to guarantee the protection of journalists, human rights defenders and lawyers from harassment by state institutions including the military intelligence services. The High commissioner welcomed the moratorium on the application of the death penalty, but called for a review of the more than 8,000 death row cases.

Patrick Maigua United Nations Radio

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