10/17/2020 Pakistan (International Christian Concern) – On October 13, Pakistan was elected by the United Nations General Assembly to the 47-member United Nations Human Rights Council. This election has drawn criticism from human rights groups who have pointed out Pakistan’s poor record on protecting the rights of the country’s religious minorities.
Pakistan’s election to the United Nations Human Rights Council means it will serve on the United Nations’ premier body for protecting human rights worldwide. The council proposes resolutions and oversees investigations into human rights violations, including religious freedom violations.
According to the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF), Pakistan is among the world’s worst violators of religious freedom and has been designated a Country of Particular Concern. To be designated a Country of Particular Concern, USCIRF must find that ongoing and egregious violations of religious freedom are being perpetrated or tolerated within a country.
In Pakistan, religious minorities, including Christians, face high levels of religious intolerance and instances of outright persecution. Much of the religiously motivated violence is perpetrated by extremists, however, authorities have historically done little to protect minorities from this violence.
False accusations of blasphemy, abductions, forced conversions, and forced marriages additionally name only a few of the issues endured by Pakistan’s religious minorities. As a newly elected member of the United Nations Human Rights Council, many question whether Pakistan’s poor record on human rights will affect the country’s ability to effectively serve the council’s primary mandate.