Top UN rights official speaks out on Pakistan’s state of emergency

The United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Louise Arbour, has voiced alarm at the imposition of a state of emergency in Pakistan.

In a statement, Louise Arbour expressed concern about reports that leading judges, lawyers and political and human rights activists have been detained or placed under house arrest, including UN Special Rapporteur on freedom of religion and belief, Asma Jahangir.

She called on the Pakistani authorities to clarify the status of those detained and ensure that no one is detained for the peaceful exercise of their political beliefs.

Arbour said, “A state of emergency should only be used to deal with a dire security threat to the nation, not to undermine the integrity and independence of the judiciary.”