54th Session UNHRC: Intervention by Mr. Conor Owens (Research Analyst EFSAS) on General Debate Item 5
Text and video of Mr. Conor Owen's Intervention on General Debate Item 5 (Human rights bodies and mechanisms) during the 54th Session of the UN Human Rights Council.
Video of Mr. Conor Owen's Intervention on General Debate Item 5 during the 54th Session of the UN Human Rights Council.
The recent resolution introduced by Pakistan during this Council’s last session in light of Quran burnings in Sweden attempts to diminish manifestations of religious hatred. While religious intolerance should always be condemned, Pakistan's concern for religious hatred abroad is a blatant display of hypocrisy, as it is unwilling to express the same considerations within its own borders.
The rise of Sunni Islamist extremism, cultivated by the Pakistani Military Establishment, has created a hostile environment for religious minorities, including the Shi’a, Ahmadiyya, Christian, Hindu, and Sikh communities. The blasphemy and anti-Ahmadiyya laws currently enforced in Pakistan have enabled Islamist extremists to operate with legal cover and persecute non-Muslims on a daily basis. These religious minorities have become subject to frequent, unprovoked attacks, which include mob violence, lynching, assassinations, forced conversions, and the desecration of places of worship.
This Council should be wary of the advice of a fanatical State whose educational curriculum breeds hatred for minorities, and whose judicial system gives impunity to these aggressors.
It is the responsibility of UN human rights bodies to exert pressure on Pakistani authorities for greater legal accountability. Constituting the mechanism of a fact-finding mission to fully evaluate the human rights situation of religious minorities in Pakistan is long overdue and utmost urgent.
Without such actions, these violations of religious freedom in Pakistan will only continue to worsen.