UK says it “Strongly condemns the forced marriage and forced conversion of women and girls from religious minorities in Pakistan” and says it is supporting programmes to “improve the justice system for victims, witnesses and offenders, including vulnerable women and girls.”

Dec 24, 2020 | Featured parliamentary activity

Arzoo

Pakistan: rights of the child

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon, the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office, has provided the following answer to your written parliamentary question (HL11266):

Question:
To ask Her Majesty’s Government what representations they have made to the government of Pakistan about its publication Policy Brief by National Commission on the Rights of the Child on Forced Conversion with Recommendations after Analysis of Arzoo Case, published on 7 December; and what steps they are taking to prevent the practices analysed in the publication. (HL11266)

Tabled on: 09 December 2020

Answer:
Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon:

We welcome the policy brief by Pakistan’s National Commission on the Rights of the Child on forced conversions published on 7 December. The UK Government strongly condemns the forced marriage and forced conversion of women and girls from religious minorities in Pakistan. We regularly raise our concerns on these issues with the Government of Pakistan. Most recently, I raised our human rights concerns, including Freedom of Religion or Belief, with Pakistan’s Minister for Human Rights on 16 November. In addition, I raised our concerns about child, early and forced marriage and forced conversion of women and girls from minority religious communities, with Pakistan’s Minister for Human Rights on 19 October.

Through the UK’s development support, we are encouraging policy reform at federal and provincial level to strengthen child protection laws in order to prevent child marriage. In addition, the UK’s Strengthening Rule of Law in Pakistan programme aims to increase public confidence and trust in the Rule of Law. It focuses on delivering outputs that improve the justice system for victims, witnesses and offenders, including vulnerable women and girls.

Date and time of answer: 24 Dec 2020 at 10:17.

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon, the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office, has provided the following answer to your written parliamentary question (HL11267):

Question:
To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assistance they have given to the government of Pakistan (1) to expedite prosecutions of those responsible for, and (2) to secure redress for those affected by, forced marriages and conversions. (HL11267)

Tabled on: 09 December 2020

Answer:
Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon:

The UK Government strongly condemns the forced marriage and forced conversion of women and girls from religious minorities in Pakistan. We regularly raise our concerns on these issues with the Government of Pakistan. Most recently, I raised our human rights concerns, including Freedom of Religion or Belief, with Pakistan’s Minister for Human Rights on 16 November. In addition, I raised our concerns about child, early and forced marriage and forced conversion of women and girls from minority religious communities, with Pakistan’s Minister for Human Rights on 19 October.

Through the UK’s development support, we are working with the Government of Pakistan to strengthen and improve Pakistan’s police and judicial systems. The UK’s Strengthening Rule of Law in Pakistan programme aims to increase public confidence and trust in the Rule of Law. It focuses on delivering outputs that improve the justice system for victims, witnesses and offenders, including vulnerable women and girls.

Date and time of answer: 24 Dec 2020 at 10:18.

Lord David Alton

For 18 years David Alton was a Member of the House of Commons and today he is an Independent Crossbench Life Peer in the UK House of Lords.

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