Mere Anglicanism

UN call for Pakistan to repeal blasphemy laws

UN report noted with concern the “the high number of blasphemy cases based on false accusations with no related investigations and prosecutions”

The UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination has called upon Pakistan to repeal its blasphemy laws. In a report issued on 26 Aug 2016 the Geneva-based committee said it “takes note of the state’s efforts to prevent the abuse of blasphemy laws” by the government, but said the law was vague and ripe for exploitation by those seeking to persecute Christians, Hindus and minority Muslim sects. The “broad and vague definition of crimes against religion under articles of the law”, had led to the “disproportionate use of those laws against individuals belonging to ethnic and religious minorities”. In April 2016 the Anglican Consultative Council at its meeting in Lusaka adopted a resolution in support of Asia Bibi, (pictured) a Christian woman awaiting execution in Pakistan for blasphemy against Islam. Mrs. Bibi was convicted in November 2010 of having defamed the Muslim religion after a dispute arose when she drank from a well reserved for Muslims. The ACC called for the government to investigate the case and were confident she would receive an “honourable acquittal”. In May the Primate of Australia, the Most Rev. Philip Freier, Archbishop of Melbourne called the Bibi case a “disgraceful application of Pakistan’s blasphemy law”  that brought “tragedy and shame” upon Pakistan. The UN report noted with concern the “the high number of blasphemy cases based on false accusations with no related investigations and prosecutions”, while “the judges who judge cases of blasphemy face intimidation, death threats and murders”. It urged Pakistan “to consider the repeal of the blasphemy law, which goes against freedom of expression and religion, established by the Constitution” and “to take all necessary measures to prosecute and punish those submitting false charges” and “to protect the judges”.

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