ASIA/PAKISTAN - UN Commission: repeal the blasphemy law

Tuesday, 30 August 2016 blasphemy   religious freedom   religious minorities   human rights   islam  


Geneva (Agenzia Fides) - The UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination has called on Pakistan to repeal the blasphemy law. In the periodic report on the country, released on August 26 and sent to Fides, the Commission based in Geneva "takes note of the state’s efforts to prevent the abuse of blasphemy laws", but also expressed concern about "efforts for the broad and vague definition of crimes against religion under articles of the law", which consists of some articles of the penal Code of Pakistan, and notes "the disproportionate use of those laws against individuals belonging to ethnic and religious minorities".
The Commission regrets "the high number of blasphemy cases based on false accusations with no related investigations and prosecutions", while "the judges who judge cases of blasphemy face intimidation, death threats and murders".
The Commission suggests Pakistan "to consider the repeal of the blasphemy law, which goes against freedom of expression and religion, established by the Constitution" and asks "to take all necessary measures to prosecute and punish those submitting false charges" and "to protect the judges".
What is also requested, besides recommendations to stop discrimination and protect ethnic and religious minorities, is to strengthen the independence and effectiveness of the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan, established in the state in 2015, also by allocating sufficient resources and enhancing skills and powers, and investigating all cases of human rights violation. (PA) (Agenzia Fides 30/08/2016)