The Elders

Press release

The Elders mourn the death of Asma Jahangir

The Elders' statement on the untimely death of Pakistani lawyer and internationally respected human rights defender Asma Jahangir.

"She spoke truth to power, and power was forced to listen." –Kofi Annan.

Asma Jahangir (Credit: UN Photo / Jean-Marc Ferré)
Asma Jahangir (Credit: UN Photo / Jean-Marc Ferré)

The Elders are deeply saddened at the untimely death of Pakistani lawyer and human rights defender Asma Jahangir. 

Asma Jahangir was internationally respected for her pioneering work in her home country and beyond. She worked closely with her sister Hina Jilani, who is a member of The Elders, to set up Pakistan’s first ever free legal aid centre and the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan.

Her commitment to freedom and justice transcended borders and made her a defiant critic of authoritarian regimes who sought to cloak their repression in the guise of cultural traditions.

Kofi Annan, Chair of The Elders, said:

“Asma Jahangir’s tenacity, clarity of vision and unbending principles helped win countless victories in the struggle against authoritarianism. She spoke truth to power, and power was forced to listen. In this sad time, I hope her family can take some consolation that Asma’s legacy will live on to inspire future generations of lawyers, feminists and human rights activists the world over.”

For media inquiries, please contact William French, Head of Communications at The Elders (+44 7795 693903) or email:

Sign-up to receive all press releases


Please read our moderation policy before commenting

  • All comments posted on will be moderated before publication.
  • In making comments, please be constructive and treat others with respect.
  • Comments containing hate speech, obscenity, inflammatory statements or accusations, personal attacks, discriminatory or abusive language will not be posted.
  • Links: Please do link to other relevant sites and articles to enrich the debate. Please do not link to inappropriate or offensive websites or use signature links in your post.
The Elders are independent global leaders, brought together by Nelson Mandela, who offer their collective influence and experience to support peace building, help address major causes of human suffering and promote the shared interests of humanity.

Sign up to receive monthly newsletters from The Elders.

We will occasionally send you other special updates and news, but we'll never share your email address with third parties.

Visit the archive to see our past newsletters.

The Elders website uses cookies. Click here to accept the Terms & Conditions and Privacy Policy when visiting this site.