WCC to hold hearing on religious minorities in Pakistan

The World Council of Churches is to hold a consultation on the plight of religious minorities and the misuse of the blasphemy law in Pakistan.

The hearing will take place from 17 to 19 September to coincide with the 21st Session of the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva.

The consultation is being organised by the WCC's commission on international affairs to engage the international community, UN officials and the representatives of organisations in Pakistan working on behalf of religious minorities.

“The public hearing aims to heighten discussions at international levels on the deteriorating situation of the human rights of minorities in Pakistan and misuse of blasphemy law, through which the death sentence was made mandatory for blaspheming," said Dr Mathews George Chunakara, the director of the Commission of the Churches on International Affairs.

"We hope to strengthen initiatives that have greater impact on public and governments by involving ecumenical advocacy for minorities in the country."

Pakistan's blasphemy law has been condemned by human rights groups for the way in which it is being misused to harass Christians and other minorities.

People accused of blasphemy often find themselves the victim of mob violence, even when the charges against them have been dropped or overturned by court judges.

The WCC said the consultation was being held as part of its ongoing efforts to show solidarity with the religious minorities in Pakistan.

Dr Chunakara added: “The international hearing will also create a platform to address the concerns of persecuted religious minorities to make their voices heard in the international arena and particularly at the United Nation’s Human Rights Council."