IUAI-day: Family goes without access to information about Aafia for 3 years: Dr Fowzia

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Karachi: Aafia Movement Pakistan (AMP) leader and noted neurophysician of the country, Dr Fowzia Siddiqui has said today the world is celebrating the international day of access to information, but sadly the family of Dr Aafia Siddiqui has been deprived for even telephonic access to her for last three years.

In a statement here Saturday, Dr Fowzia said that for last three years they have been deprived of even periodic telephonic access to Aafia. She said for last 6 months the facility of consular access to Aafia has also been withdrawn. She said the Pakistan consul general had called on Aafia six months ago but the report of this meeting is yet to be shared with the nation and Aafia family. She regretted that when governments, themselves, are involved in violation of the basic rights of people, it only creates human tragedies.

Dr Fowzia said in the case of Aafia, her fundamental human rights are being neglected by both governments of Pakistan and USA. She said Aafia has been braving illegal detention for last 17 years, and human rights activists of whole world are crying over this injustice but to no avail. She said the Aafia Movement Pakistan has already sent several letters, faxes and emails to the offices of President, Prime Minister, Foreign Office and Ministry of human rights but we are still waiting for their reply.

Dr Fowzia; however, hoped that Prime Minister Imran Khan would soon fulfill his promise about release of Dr Aafia and all departments and persons assisting the Prime Minister would also leave no stone unturned in securing early release and return of the daughter of the nation.

It may be noted that since 2016 UNESCO marks 28 September as the “International Day for Universal Access to Information” (IDUAI), following the adoption of the 38 C/Resolution 57 declaring 28 September of every year as International Day for Universal Access to Information (IDUAI).

The IDUAI has particular relevance with Agenda 2030 with specific reference to:

SDG 2 on investment in rural infrastructure and technology development,
SDG 11 on positive economic, social and environmental links between urban, peri-urban and rural areas and
SDG 16 on initiatives to adopt and implement constitutional, statutory and/or policy guarantees for public access to information.
In particular, UNESCO has been designated by the UN General Assembly as the custodian agency for global monitoring of part of the SDG target 16.10.2 in terms of which all countries should ensure ‘’public access to information and protect fundamental freedoms, in accordance with national legislation and international agreements. During these events, UNESCO will discuss monitoring results and present trends in the field of access to information.

On this day the message of the Director General says: “The theme of this year’s celebration is “Leaving No One Behind!” a mission in which digital technology is an invaluable resource. However, the unprecedented digital transformation of our era is also leading to new forms of inequality. To combat this, digital innovation must go hand in hand with the obligation of Member States to adopt and improve legislation for public access to information. Through implementing laws, investing in relevant infrastructure, and engaging civil society and young people in particular, access to information can protect human rights and drive sustainable development.”