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Afghanistan: Death Penalty

Volume 704: debated on Tuesday 14 October 2008

asked Her Majesty's Government:

What representations they are making, or will make, to the Government of Afghanistan regarding the abolition of the death penalty for apostasy from Islam to any other religion.[HL5245]

We condemn all instances where individuals are persecuted because of their faith or belief and take every opportunity to urge states to implement laws and practices which foster tolerance and mutual respect. The Afghan Constitution (Article 2) provides for freedom of religion. Afghanistan is also a signatory to the six principal international human rights treaties including the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which guarantees freedom of religion. We expect Afghanistan to live up to those obligations and believe individuals should be able to practise their faith or beliefs free from persecution and prosecution.

The UK is aware of instances in the past of the threatened use of the death penalty for apostasy in Afghanistan. We follow any such individual cases very closely and have lobbied strongly when necessary. We will continue to take an active stance should further such cases arise.