South Asians for Human Rights (SAHR) condemns the massacre at the Army Public School in Peshawar where 141 people have been killed of which 132 are children. Our thoughts are with the bereaved families and pray for the speedy recovery of those that have been injured.
The horrific incident is yet another example of the barbaric nature of the groups that commit heinous crimes against humanity in the name of religion, be it those that kill children and unarmed civilians in Pakistan or abduct and rape school girls in Nigeria.
The wave of religious extremism and intolerance that continues unabated in the countries of the South Asian region gives rise to such barbaric acts.
Women, children and minority communities become more frequent victims of religious hatred and prejudice. The burning alive of the woman teacher by the terrorists during the mayhem committed by them in the school in Peshawar is a horrible example of this victimization.
It is also apparent that the rise of extremism is closely linked to the agenda of both states and non-state actors to gain political or social control and domination through fear. These trends have increased violence, destroyed communal harmony and created a space for extremist and terrorist agendas to flourish. Each of the countries in the region have already paid too high a price in terms of human lives, economic deprivation, social divisions and unending political strife because of religious extremism and terrorism. It is time for serious and stronger resolves at national and regional levels by the leadership and the people to end all forms of extremism and fanaticism that have engulfed us for so long.
On behalf of the members of South Asians for Human Rights
Dr. Nimalka Fernando