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Press Release:
Pakistani Government Shall Give No Space for Terrorist Act

The Commission for the Disappeared and Victims of Violence (KontraS) - a human rights non-governmental organization based in Jakarta - strongly condemn in the strongest terms the horrific terrorist act that took place at the Army Public School in Peshawar, Pakistan on 16th December, 2014, causing numerous deaths and injuries, the vast majority of whom were children (132 death).

A military spokesman reported in Peshawar that 132 children and nine members of staff had been killed. All seven of the attackers wore suicide bomb vests and scores of people were also injured. It appears the militants scaled walls to get into the school and set off a bomb at the start of the assault. Children who escaped then went from one classroom to another, shooting indiscriminately.

Since 2010, there have been at least four attacks on school buses - including the one in which Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai was shot in the head in Swat in 2012. There have been at least three Taliban attacks on schools this year, with one fatality.

A Taliban spokesman said the attack was a response to recent Pakistani army operations in nearby North Waziristan, in which hundreds of Taliban fighters were killed. The school, in an area of Peshawar close to a military cantonment, was run by the army and some of the students were children of army members. The Taliban have targeted students in Pakistan on numerous occasions, but this is by far their deadliest attack on a school.

We believe that there can be absolutely no justification for targeting children in this way. This unconscionable Taliban attack is a grave reminder that civilians in north-west Pakistan desperately need effective protection from militant groups.

The attack carried out by the Taliban is a grim reminder of the deteriorating environment for peace and human rights in Pakistan and we hope that State will take concrete measures to ensure that such heinous crimes are prevented in the future. The attack has absolutely violated international obligations comprised in the Treaty which Pakistan has acceded, which are:

Article 6, Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC):

1. States Parties recognize that every child has the inherent right to life

2. States Parties shall ensure to the maximum extent possible the survival and development of the child.

Article 6, International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR):

1. Every human being has the inherent right to life. This right shall be protected by law. No one shall be arbitrarily deprived of his life.

 

Also bearing in mind that Pakistan is the respective member of Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) since 1969 who is obliged under the charter of OIC:

Member States of OIC shall act, inter alia, in accordance with the following principles:

All Member States commit themselves to the purposes and principles of the United Nations Charter;

Member States are sovereign, independent and equal in rights and obligations;

All Member States shall settle their disputes through peaceful means and refrain from use or threat of use of force in their relations;

All Member States undertake to respect national sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity of other Member States and shall refrain from interfering in the internal affairs of others;

Member States shall uphold and promote, at the national and international levels, good governance, democracy, human rights and fundamental freedoms, and the rule of law.

Therefore, by sending this letter, we would likestresses the importance of ensuring the right of every child to have access to education in a safe learning environment and reaffirms that terrorism in all its forms and manifestations is unjustifiable, regardless of its motivation wherever, whenever and by whomsoever commits it. We would like to call international community to redouble efforts in the fight against the scourge of terrorism and underlines the need to bring the perpetrators of these acts to justice and calls on member states to support the efforts of the Government of Pakistan in this regard.

Jakarta, December 19th 2014
Sincerely,

Haris Azhar

Executive Coordinator of KontraS