Violation of minorities’ rights


National Commission for Justice and Peace (NCJP), a human right body representing Pakistan Catholic Bishops Conference, has called on all concerned sections and organs of the government to act in unison to stem out widespread human rights abuses against religious minorities especially those linked with the use/abuse of blasphemy laws.
Fr Emmanuel Yousaf Mani, NCJP National Director, through a press statement urged the federal and provincial interior ministries to tackle the elements responsible for bringing false charge targeting members of religious minority groups.
The NCJP also urged the parliament to review the said laws thoroughly initially by the standing committee on human rights or the committee on minorities. The people of Pakistan need to be informed about the gap between intent of the law and the practices at hand. A fair debate would be only possible if the threat of violence is removed to allow civilized discourse.
The statement further said: “It is sad to see that this widespread abuse, spanning over decades has gone unnoticed by the superior judiciary and gross human rights violations in the area of dispensation of justice have been addressed.”
Admiring the political parties who have understood the underlying difficulties with the blasphemy laws, the statement further said: “The national commission for justice and peace appeals all political parties to study the issue of blasphemy laws with facts on the ground. The human rights defenders who have demanded repeal of all discriminatory and religion specific laws need protection of law and protection against any mischief and violence. The section of media relying on populism need to understand the seriousness of the matters linked to human rights.
The national commission for justice and peace urged all citizens to wake up to the need of legal, structural and sectoral reforms for peace and harmony in the country, concluded the statement.