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Pakistan: Religious Freedom

Question for Foreign and Commonwealth Office

UIN HL8398, tabled on 6 June 2018

To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the report Forced Conversions & Forced Marriages in Sindh, Pakistan, published by the Commonwealth Institute for Freedom of Religion and Belief and the University of Birmingham.

Answered on

20 June 2018

The British Government remains firmly committed to the promotion and protection of Freedom of Religion or Belief globally. We believe that the freedom to practice one's faith or belief without discrimination or violent opposition is a fundamental human right.

Pakistan is a human rights priority for the UK. We remain deeply concerned by reports of forced marriages and forced conversions in Pakistan. We regularly raise our concerns about the protection of vulnerable groups, including religious minorities and women, with the Pakistani Government at a senior level. I discussed our concerns about Freedom of Religion or Belief and the treatment of minority religious communities with Pakistan's Interior Minister during his visit to the UK in February 2018.

I was pleased to attend at the launch of the Commonwealth Initiative for Freedom of Religion and Belief and University of Birmingham report on forced conversions and forced marriages in Sindh, Pakistan, in Parliament on 6 June. We will carefully consider the recommendations of this report.

The UK supports a range of projects in Pakistan which aim to: promote greater tolerance and religious freedom; increase the recording and prosecution of cases of violence against women and children; improve women and girls' awareness of their legal rights and access to formal justice systems; and increase the participation of women in democracy as voters and candidates.