It was with deep regret that we learnt the sad news of the passing away of Asma Jilani Jahangir. A great advocate of human rights is lost to Pakistan and to the world. We remember her amongst others as founder of the Human Rights Commission in Pakistan and as United Nations Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Religion and Belief.
In 2010 Asma Jahangir received the Freedom of Worship Medal in Middelburg for her encouragement of interreligious and –cultural dialogue and for her lifelong fight for the rights of the most vulnerable people in society: the poor, women, children and members of religious minorities.
At the Four Freedoms Awards ceremony in 2010 she spoke the following words:
Religious intolerance knows no borders. It is contagious and rears its head in almost all regions of the world. Rights of religious minorities are compromised, even in a system where democratic norms are otherwise respected. However, dictatorial an autocratic systems provide a fertile ground for intolerance to entrench itself deeper in society. It is therefore important for us to recognize that democracy, rule of law and human rights are closely interlinked. They flourish together or perish one by one.
Asma Jahangir will remain in our memory. She was, is and will remain a great example and inspiration to us all.
Chairman of the Roosevelt Foundation
Pieter Jan Mersie
Director of the Roosevelt Foundation