UN experts condemn terrorist attacks targeting Pakistan election and call for a peaceful transition of power


UN experts* today condemned the lethal terrorist bombings against two political campaign offices in south-west Pakistan on 7 February – on the eve of national elections in the country. The Islamic State in the Levant (ISIL) claimed responsibility for the attacks in Balochistan that killed 30 people and injured dozens. The group is subject to sanctions by the United Nations Security Council.

“Such terrorist violence detrimentally affects human rights, including the right to life and, in this context, the democratic right to vote in free elections and related political freedoms of association, assembly and expression,” the experts said.

In addition to infringing human rights, the General Assembly has recognised terrorism undermines democracy, the rule of law and economic and social development.

“We extend our deepest sympathy and solidarity to the victims and their families and to the people and Government of Pakistan,” the UN experts said. They welcomed Pakistan’s emergency assistance to the victims.

The experts also condemned the many other violent acts targeting the election, including a bombing at a women’s polling station on 8 February that killed two children.

“We urge Pakistan to effectively investigate these crimes and to hold perpetrators accountable to ensure justice for the victims,” the experts said. They called for investigations and prosecutions to follow international standards, including the United Nations Minnesota Protocol on the Investigation of Potentially Unlawful Death.

They emphasised the General Assembly’s call on states to provide proper support and assistance to victims of terrorism in accordance with international law, including with regard to remembrance, dignity, respect, accountability, and truth and justice.

The experts highlighted useful UN guidance provided by the Model Legislative Provisions to Support the Needs and Protect the Rights of Victims of Terrorism; Framework Principles for Securing the Human Rights of Victims of Terrorism; Good Practices in Supporting Victims of Terrorism within the Criminal Justice Framework; and Criminal Justice Response to Support Victims of Acts of Terrorism.

They offered their technical assistance to Pakistan to assist the victims of terrorism and to ensure investigations and prosecutions are in line with international law.

Following the declaration of results on 11 February, the UN experts urged any disputes surrounding the election and the formation of a new government to be resolved peacefully through legal means, including the Election Commission and the courts.

The experts appreciated Pakistan’s efforts to secure the election by deploying thousands of security personnel. “Pakistan must now ensure that that any allegations that the authorities committed any unlawful violence or other human rights violations during the election, including by suspending mobile internet services while voting was underway, are fully investigated”, they said.

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