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UN calls on Pakistan to probe abductions, extrajudicial killings of journalists


August 20, 2011 - Geneva

The United Nations (UN) Human Rights office has urged the Pakistan Government to investigate numerous reports of abductions, disappearances and extrajudicial killings, particularly of journalists, in the country.

Since 2007, the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) has received numerous reports of such human rights violations, spokesperson Rupert Colville told reporters in Geneva.

In the past week alone, it received reports on the killing of one journalist, Munir Shakir, in Balochistan on August 14, and the disappearance of another journalist, Rehmatullah Darpakhel, three days earlier in North Waziristan on August 11.

"We are very concerned that such incidents are not abating in Pakistan," Colville said. "We call on all responsible parties to immediately stop such violations of human rights, and we urge the Government to take immediate steps to independently investigate these cases."

He noted that Pakistan is cited by various journalist groups as one of the most dangerous places, if not the most dangerous, for media professionals, with at least 16 journalists killed in 2010.

According to the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), nine journalists have been killed in Pakistan so far this year.

"None of the cases have been investigated to the full," said Colville.

He added that in Balochistan alone, there were reports that 25 people, including journalists, writers, students and human rights defenders, had been subject to extrajudicial killings within the first four months of 2011.

ANI

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