At EU, Humanists International raises concerns about human rights abuses and situation of non-religious in Pakistan

  • post Type / Advocacy News
  • Date / 27 February 2024

At a meeting with the European Union’s Special Envoy on Freedom of Religion or Belief, Mr. Frans van Daele, Humanists International has raised its grave concerns about the human rights situation in Pakistan and the situation of non-religious individuals there.

During a civil society consultation with the Special Envoy, Humanists International’s European Advocacy Officer, Tania Giacomuzzi Mota, set out concerns ahead of a trip Mr van Daele will be making to Pakistan.

Giacomuzzi Mota stressed three main points:

Firstly, the role of blasphemy laws in Pakistan, and how they are frequently employed to stifle dissent and silence critics, exacerbating discrimination, including often against non-religious individuals and other belief minorities. She emphasized the fact that the non-religious face increased marginalization and vulnerability due to the government’s promotion of a conservative religious agenda.

Secondly, Giacomuzzi Mota shed light on the repressive legal environment in Pakistan, citing enforced disappearances, extrajudicial killings, and a lack of accountability for human rights abuses. Forced conversions to Islam, discriminatory family laws, and societal pressures compound the challenges faced by non-religious individuals, particularly impacting women and girls.

Lastly, Giacomuzzi Mota highlighted the fact that severe restrictions on freedom of expression and media freedom are in place in Pakistan, with laws criminalizing blasphemy and sedition utilized to suppress independent journalism and silence critics. Activists advocating for the rights of non-religious individuals are subjected to systematic harassment and persecution, including arbitrary arrests and enforced disappearances.

Giacomuzzi Mota’s intervention follows a statement made by Humanists International at the last session of the UN Human Rights Council which highlighted similar issues.

Featured photo by Hamid Roshaan on Unsplash

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