Pakistan: Activists Call For Stronger Legal Safeguards To Protect Minorities’ Rights


Speakers shed light on the misuse of blasphemy laws, coerced faith conversions and child marriages, and hate speech.

Minority rights activists have urged legal duty bearers such as the police, judiciary, and public representatives to help strengthen and implement legal and administrative safeguards to protect minorities against human rights abuses.

This call was emphasized by human rights defenders during a consultative meeting organized by Voice for Justice (VFJ) to mark International Human Rights Day.

While addressing the participants of the session, Voice for Justice (VFJ) Chairperson Joseph Jansen said that incidents like forced religious conversions, child marriages of Christian and Hindu girls, and violent attacks on the pretext of false blasphemy accusations should be curbed to protect the rights of minorities.

Ashiknaz Khokhar shed light on the misuse of blasphemy laws, coerced faith conversions and child marriages, hate speech and violence against minorities, religious content in school textbooks, and the lack of implementation of job quotas. He emphasized the need for political will coupled with more determined action to implement reforms and better protect human rights.

During the session, Shamaun Alfred drew attention to the case of Anwar Kenneth, who has been behind bars on blasphemy charges for over two decades, appealing for Kenneth’s acquittal.

Nadia Stephen said that the government should take measures to ensure equal rights, protect citizens’ lives and property, and address outstanding issues through reforms such as criminalizing forced conversions, amending blasphemy laws to prevent their misuse, and enacting legislation to prevent hate crimes and mob violence.__The Friday Times Pakistan