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Christian persecution watchdog urges UNHRC to protect Pakistani Christians

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The United Nations Human Rights Council has been urged to protect Pakistan’s Christian community. In this regard, a legal submission has been made to the UN body seeking action in order to guard Christians in Pakistan from religion based persecution.

Minorities in Pakistan

This submission was made by the American Centre for Law and Justice (ACLJ). The Washington-based watchdog maintained in its submission that: “The Islamic Republic of Pakistan continues to violate the human rights of its religious minorities. Instances of mob violence; police torture; false accusations of blasphemy; rape, murder, and other forms of violence occur on a regular basis. Authorities in Pakistan have shown a continuous inability or unwillingness to protect its minorities from human rights abuses. These aren’t isolated incidents. Christians are being specifically targeted.”

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The watchdog further maintained that “Pakistani Christians are being terrorized, tortured, murdered – even sentenced to death – simply because of their faith. The Pakistani government seems unable or unwilling to protect its Christian citizens. We are asking the world’s leaders to take urgent action.”

The ACLJ said that the churches are being targeted and damaged frequently, what is more Christian neighborhoods have also been attacked repeatedly. It claimed that the Pakistani government has turned a blind eye to the plight of the Christians so much so that, “Christians can’t even count on the local authorities to protect them.”

“We are aggressively fighting for persecuted Christians through our office on the ground in Pakistan. We also continue to advocate for Asia Bibi, a Christian mother of five who we’ve told you has been sentenced to death under Pakistan’s blasphemy laws for offering a Muslim coworker a glass of water. Pakistan has allowed these easily misinterpreted laws to cause innocent people – particularly Christians like Asia Bibi, and other religious minorities – to suffer and even die,” the ACLJ submission stated.

The American Centre for Law and Justice briefed the UNHRC that the blasphemy laws are being widely misused. “As a result, the blasphemy laws are easy to misuse and charges often result because of personal vendettas between the parties. Since Pakistan enacted these laws in the 1980s, over one thousand cases have been registered and over forty people are on death row or serving life sentences. Over fifty people have been killed over blasphemy allegations and hundreds are serving or have served prison terms ranging from three to ten years,” ACLJ said.

The ACLJ urged the United Nations Human Rights Council to exert pressure on the Government of Pakistan to comply with the international agreements it endorsed in order to protect the religious minorities nestled in the country.

“We must act now to protect our persecuted and dying Christian brothers and sisters. We will continue aggressively to advocate at the U.N. and through our office on the ground in Pakistan, but we need you. Be the voice of Pakistan’s frightened and dying Christians,” the ACLJ urged.