March 8, 2012: Asma Jahangir to receive Equitas Award for Human Rights Education

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Media Advisory  Courageous Pakistani Human Rights Defender to receive Equitas Award for Human Rights Education Montreal, March 8 – Asma Jahangir has been imprisoned, kept under house arrest and received numerous death threats in her native Pakistan for her commitment to equality and human rights. In recognition of her courage and unwillingness to be silenced in her fight for women’s rights and religious freedom, Montreal-based organization Equitas has awarded Ms Jahangir the 2012 Equitas Award for Human Rights Education.  The award will be presented to Ms. Jahangir on April 4 at a gala cocktail event in Toronto.    “The struggle for women’s equality can be at times frustrating and dangerous, but without it, there can be no lasting peace in our world,” says Jahangir. “I hope this award will encourage others to continue this struggle, knowing their work is recognized and appreciated by stellar organizations like Equitas.” Exceptional Achievements in Human Rights Ms. Jahangir has distinguished herself as an outspoken and highly effective advocate for women’s rights and religious freedom.  As a legal practitioner and civil society activist, Ms. Jahangir has been a staunch critic of laws discriminating against the rights of women in Pakistan.  She has also been an effective advocate in the courts challenging unjust actions, whether committed by the community or the Government. Ms Jahangir was the President of the Supreme Court Bar Association of Pakistan and Director of the AGHS Legal Aid Cell, which provides free legal assistance to women and to marginalized and vulnerable groups. In 1998, Ms. Jahangir was appointed United Nations Special Rapporteur on Extrajudicial, Summary or Arbitrary Execution and in 2004 she was appointed United Nation Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Religion or Belief of the Council of Human Rights. “Equitas feels privileged to be able to honour Asma Jahangir’s tremendous accomplishments,” says Executive Director Ian Hamilton. “Today, in honour of International Women’s Day, we are proud to share this story and highlight some of the outstanding work done by Asma Jahangir in tackling some of the most sensitive human rights issues in the world today.” Award Ceremony When:                  Wednesday, April 4 from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. Where:                Lambert Room, 54th floor, TD Centre, 66 Wellington Street West, Toronto — 30 — To arrange an interview, obtain a press pass for the event or for more information, please contact:  Ian Hamilton, Executive Director T: (514) 795-2093 E-mail: ihamilton@equitas.org

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