To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the impact of Pakistani girls, who are members of a religious minority, being removed from schools by their parents as a result of the number of abductions and forced conversions on the literacy rate of girls in Pakistan; and what steps they intend to take to help resolve this problem.
4 June 2019
Education is an integral part of the UK's approach to improving human rights. The education of girls continues to be a priority for UK development assistance in Pakistan. Under the Punjab Education Sector Programme, we are working with a local partner organisation to reintegrate young and adolescent girls who have left school prematurely back into mainstream schools or vocational education. Within less than a year, over 4000 girls have benefitted from this intervention so far.
The British Government supports other programmes designed to improve human rights and opportunities for women, religious minorities and marginalised groups. For example, the Department for International Development's AAWAZ II programme works with communities to promote rights of children, women, youth and religious minorities, protect them from exploitation, and prevent discrimination and intolerance. It also funds interventions in support of ending child marriage.
During my visit to Pakistan in February, I raised our concerns about child protection, the treatment of minority communities and the issue of forced marriage with Pakistan's Federal Minister for Human Rights, Dr Shireen Mazari.
We will continue to urge the Government of Pakistan to take the steps necessary to comply in full with its human rights obligations to vulnerable groups, including religious minorities and women and girls.