Take Action for Transgender HRD Chocolate
On 17 February 2016, a group of armed men led by a member of the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Elite Police Force forcibly entered the house of transgender human rights defender Chocolate. The men attempted to force her to leave with them before threatening her with kidnapping.
Chocolate is a transgender human rights defender and a board member and joint secretary of the TransAction Alliance, a group which works for the promotion and protection of the rights of the transgender community in the Pakistani province of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.
On 17 February 2016, six armed men, five dressed in civilian clothing and one a member of the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Elite Police Force, forcibly entered the residence of the transgender human rights defender in Changarabad, in the Gulbahar area of the city of Peshawar. The police officer ordered Chocolate to go with the men to Sarband police station, at which point the human rights defender called for help and resisted the group's attempts to take her with them. The group of men responded by insulting the human rights defender, warning her of the consequences of her actions, and ordering her to call the police officer within one hour or face being kidnapped, before fleeing.
Following the incident, the transgender human rights defender went to Gulbahar police station in order to register a First Information Report (FIR) denouncing the actions of the group of men and police officer. However, police at the station refused to lodge an FIR for the case, and only agreed to file a Roznamcha report, an entry of the complaint into the daily diary of the police station. Furthermore, in the Roznamcha report the police officer refused to include the fact that the group of men were led by a member of the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Elite Police Force.
An official from Gulbahar police station has claimed that the Roznamcha report will be converted into an FIR if evidence is found in the case. However, following the filing of a Roznamcha report, an investigation cannot be initiated without a court order, unlike in the case of an FIR, by the filing of which a police officer gains the authority to initiate an investigation.
Members of the TransAction Alliance have previously faced persecution and harassment in connection with their human rights work. On 5 January 2016, the transgender human rights defender Adnan, co-administrator of the TransAction Page, an online platform of the TransAction Alliance,
was shot and critically wounded near Pir Zakori Bridge in Peshawar. The human rights defender had reportedly been threatened for several months preceding the attack.
I express my concern for the attempted kidnapping of the transgender human rights defender Chocolate and for the threats made against her, which are believed to be directly motivated by her legitimate and peaceful work for the promotion and protection of transgender rights in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. Further concern is expressed for the physical and psychological integrity of members of the TransAction alliance and all transgender human rights defenders in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.
I urge the authorities in Pakistan to:
1. Take all necessary measures to guarantee the physical and psychological integrity and security of Chocolate and all members of the TransAction alliance;
2. Carry out an immediate, thorough and impartial investigation into the attempted kidnapping and threats against the transgender human rights defender, with a view to publishing the results and bringing those responsible to justice in accordance with international standards;
3. Guarantee in all circumstances that all human rights defenders in Pakistan are able to carry out their legitimate human rights activities without fear of reprisals and free of all restrictions.