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Pakistan: Blasphemy

Volume 497: debated on Monday 12 October 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent assessment he has made of the effect of the domestic blasphemy laws on human rights in Pakistan. (292310)

The UK continues to have concerns about the effect of blasphemy laws on human rights in Pakistan.

Together with our EU partners, the UK has encouraged the Government of Pakistan to repeal or amend its blasphemy laws to reduce the widespread misuse of this legislation to discriminate against minority groups. In December 2008, the EU called upon the Government of Pakistan to promote tolerance, to effectively protect freedom of belief and freedom of expression and to reform discriminatory legislation such as the blasphemy laws. In August 2009, the EU also raised the attacks on Christians in Gojra with the Pakistan Foreign Minister.

We continue to encourage Pakistan to fulfil its commitments under the UN Human Rights Council. During the last Universal Periodic Review in May 2008, we secured a commitment from the Government of Pakistan that checks would be introduced to regulate investigations into allegations of blasphemy that affect minority groups.