GHRD recently submitted its Joint NGO Submission with Human Rights Focus Pakistan (HRFP) on the situation for minorities in Pakistan to the United Nations Office of the High Commissioner (OHCHR).
On October 30, 2012, Pakistan will be reviewed for the second time by the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) Working Group at the 14th UPR Session. In anticipation of the session, GHRD and HRFP had the opportunity to highlight outstanding human rights issues prevalent in Pakistan by submitting a report on April 23, 2012.
In their report, GHRD and HRFP urged individual governments and the OHCHR to raise particular minority issues with the Government of Pakistan at every opportunity and to utilise the UPR mechanism to hold the Government accountable for severe human rights violations against minority groups and violations of its signed commitments to various international treaties.
GHRD and HRFP provided five key recommendations that encourage the Government of Pakistan to:
1. Honour its commitment to review the blasphemy laws and to amend the laws and remove the death penalty for blasphemy while providing clearer terminology in relation to standards of proof and inserting a requirement of intent.
2. Re-table amendments to the National Commission for Human Rights Bill in order to ensure a fully empowered and independent institution.
3. Investigate in an impartial manner the murder of Shabbaz Bhatti.
4. Support and respect religious minorities in their endeavours to safely and peacefully practice their religion by assisting them in their safety, while combatting corruption and impunity for human rights crimes in the police force.
5. Create a specially trained taskforce to investigate the number and prevalence of kidnapping and forced conversions of minority women.