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Pakistan: Religion

Volume 716: debated on Wednesday 13 January 2010

Question

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government what are their intentions in relation to the promotion of religious tolerance in Pakistan this year. [HL1039]

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office continues to strongly support the right to freedom of religion or belief, including the full implementation of those norms laid out in the 1981 UN Declaration on the Elimination of all Forms of Intolerance and of Discrimination Based on Religion or Belief.

The UK will continue to urge Pakistan to uphold the rights of all its citizens, including religious and other minorities. The UK will continue to work with our partners in the EU to highlight the issue of human rights with the Government of Pakistan. In 2009 the EU issued two demarches, most recently in December 2009, both of which specifically pressed the Government for immediate progress on minority rights. The Government of Pakistan announced in December 2009 a series of measures designed to improve inclusion and tolerance towards religious and other minorities, including local-level committees to resolve disputes and a national minorities day. These issues will remain a focus of our bilateral lobbying and multilateral work in 2010.

In 2010, UK-funded projects will be focusing on areas including addressing the misuse of the blasphemy laws, improving women's rights, education, governance and justice reform and urging Pakistan to ratify and effectively implement the remaining two international treaties focusing on Human Rights (the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, and the UN Convention Against Torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment).