24 January 2019, GENEVA – In a letter to the UN Secretary-General António Guterres signed by HRH Prince El Hassan bin Talal of Jordan, the General Secretary of the World Council of Churches Reverend Dr Olav Fykse Tveit and the Executive Director of the Geneva Centre for Human Rights Advancement and Global Dialogue Ambassador Idriss Jazairy, the co-signatories appealed to the UN Secretary-General to contribute to the peaceful resolution of the matter concerning the Pakistani Christian woman Asia Bibi.
In the said letter, the co-signatories underlined that they “celebrate the decision of the Supreme Court of Pakistan of 31 October 2018 to acquit and release Asia Bibi, a Pakistani Christian lady convicted and sentenced to death under Pakistan's blasphemy laws in 2010.”
However, they expressed their concerns about calls from extremist and radical groups to overturn the decision of the Supreme Court of Pakistan and to reinstate the death penalty following her acquittal.
In this regard, the co-signatories stated that this ominous situation violates article 3 of the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights stating that “Everyone has the right to life, liberty and security of person.”
The co-signatories likewise referred to the Holy Scriptures of Christianity and Islam about the sanctity of life and the importance of valuing each other. “The Old Testament says that ‘All life is sacred’ while the Holy Qur’an [5:32] asserts that ‘whoever kills a soul (unless for a soul) or for corruption (done) in the land, it is as if he had slain mankind entirely,” it was underlined by the co-signatories.
It was in this context that the co-signatories appealed to the UN Secretary-General to support “our appeal to the international community, as well as to the authorities and people of Pakistan to comply with article 3 of the UDHR.”
The letter can be downloaded below: