ECLJ oral statement at the Human Rights Council on June, 16th 2017 during the general debate on Item 4 to denounce the situation of the christian minority in Pakistan.
Today the ECLJ would like to draw this Council’s attention to The Islamic Republic of Pakistan, a Muslim majority country, which is one of the worst violators of human rights. Mob violence, false accusations of blasphemy, forced conversions to Islam, police torture, and other forms of persecution and discrimination are a commonplace. Despite growing extremism, the Pakistani government has failed to protect its minorities from religiously-motivated violence or bring perpetrators to justice.
An example of the Pakistani government’s attitude toward religious minorities can be seen in its handling of the 2013 mob attack on the Christian neighborhood called Joseph Colony. A mob of Muslims burned and vandalized about 200 Christian homes after an allegation of blasphemy against one Christian was made. While the Muslim attackers were let go scot free, the Christian man originally accused of blasphemy was sentenced to death.
About 40 people are currently on death row or serving life sentences under Pakistan’s blasphemy laws that, inter alia, provide the mandatory death penalty for defaming the Prophet Muhammad’s name. Asia Bibi, a Christian mother of five, has been in prison for almost eight years. In 2009, Asia was accused of blaspheming the Prophet Muhammad’s name. A trial court sentenced her to death in 2010. An intermediate appellate court, upheld her conviction after four years. Asia is waiting for the Supreme Court to hear her appeal.
The ECLJ urges the U.N. to remind Pakistan that it is required to protect its religious minorities and protect their fundamental rights. Pakistan must bring the perpetrators of violence to justice and provide a safe environment to its religious minorities.