Pakistan: Failing to Protect its Children.

“I feel a sense of insecurity in living in this society, and I am very worried about my son’s future”.

(Quote from interview with a victim in November 2019)

Pakistan is consistently failing to protect the human rights of minorities in the country. GHRD, in partnership with Human Rights Focus Pakistan (HRFP) has discovered numerous violations targeted against minorities living in Pakistan; including threats against religious freedom and the forceful conversion and marriage of underage girls from minority communities.

The latter continues to represent a growing issue in Pakistan. In October and November 2019, HRFP was involved, with the help of GHRD, in six separate cases of girls from minority communities being abducted, forcefully converted and married to much older men.

PK, a Hindu girl, was abducted from her own home in November 2019; it is claimed that she wilfully converted to Islam and agreed to marry her abductor. The police have ceased all investigations into the case claiming that no crime has been committed. PK has not been seen or heard from since she disappeared.

Unfortunately, this case is not a rarity.

GHRD and HRFP condemns this practice and continues to provide support to the families of the victims, coordinating with the police in order to ensure the case is properly investigated and the victims returned home. This practice is becoming a common occurrence in Pakistan and has been met with little interest from the authorities. Families continue to struggle for justice and many minority communities fear for the safety of their children. Pakistan’s minorities continue to be forgotten.

GHRD and HRFP will fight for all the victims of these barbaric practices and assist families in obtaining the justice they deserve. GHRD and HRFP calls on Pakistan to recognise its obligations under the United Declaration on the Rights of Minorities[1] and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights[2] which guarantees the right of minorities to enjoy their own culture, to practice their religion and be protected from any interference in this. Further, all persons have the right to choose who they marry through full and free consent.[3] Pakistan must take action to guarantee these rights for all its citizens.

[1] Declaration on the Rights of Persons Belonging to National or Ethnic, Religious and Linguistic Minorities, Adopted by General Assembly resolution 47/135 of 18 December 1992

[2] International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), Adopted by the General Assembly of the United Nations on 19 December 1966

[3] Article 23 ICCPR.

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