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Pakistan urged to behave in opposition to pressured baby marriages, conversions | Human Rights Information


Rights consultants from the United Nations have deplored abductions, pressured marriages and conversions of women from Pakistan’s non secular minorities, urging the federal government to swiftly halt such practices.

“We’re deeply troubled to listen to that women as younger as 13 are being kidnapped from their households, trafficked to places removed from their houses, made to marry males generally twice their age, and coerced to transform to Islam,” the consultants stated in a press release on Monday.

“We’re very involved that such marriages and conversions happen underneath menace of violence to those women and girls, or their households.”

The UN consultants referred to as on Pakistan’s authorities “to take instant steps to stop and totally examine these acts”.

In response, Pakistan’s federal minister for human rights, Riaz Hussain Pirzada, informed Al Jazeera the federal government is doing its finest to make sure safety of human rights of the nation’s minorities.

“Pakistan’s courts are cognisant of the scenario and they’re specializing in making certain implementation of human rights. They’re even issuing instructions in circumstances of pressured conversions and baby marriages. We have now arrange helplines and given directions to deal with such issues,” he stated on Tuesday.

The UN consultants’ assertion got here as activists from Pakistan’s Hindu and Christian communities proceed to report abductions and compelled conversions of younger girls within the Muslim majority nation.

Yearly, dozens of women – largely youngsters – from the Hindu neighborhood primarily within the southern province of Sindh fall sufferer to this apply, facilitated by non secular leaders and teams, in accordance with activists.

Pressured conversions and compelled marriages are forbidden in Islam.

In response to the 2017 census, there are 4.4 million Hindus in Pakistan – 2.14 p.c of complete inhabitants – whereas Christians quantity round 2.6 million, or 1.27 p.c of the inhabitants.

Dr Ramesh Kumar Vankwani of the Pakistan Hindu Council, a Karachi-based consultant physique of Hindus in Pakistan, informed Al Jazeera that whereas the variety of circumstances shouldn’t be as enormous as it’s made out to be, there’s authorities inaction over the matter.

“The federal government has not proven willingness to provoke a laws. So even when there’s a single case, it’s handled as if there are 10 circumstances, and it ends in disrepute to the nation,” he stated.

“The absence of a [federal] regulation to stop the scenario leaves sure parts in society to take benefit. We want laws to cease this.”

The rights consultants, who’re appointed by the UN Human Rights Council however don’t communicate on behalf of the world physique, additionally pointed to studies indicating that Pakistan’s court docket system allows offences in opposition to non secular minority women and younger girls “by accepting, with out important examination, fraudulent proof”.

“Members of the family say that victims’ complaints are hardly ever taken severely by the police, both refusing to register these studies or arguing that no crime has been dedicated by labelling these abductions as ‘love marriages’,” they stated.

The UN consultants identified that abductors typically “pressure their victims to signal paperwork which falsely attest to their being of authorized age for marriage in addition to marrying and changing of free will”.

“These paperwork are cited by the police as proof that no crime has occurred,” they stated.

Peter Jacob, researcher and government director at Centre for Social Justice Pakistan, a Lahore-based advocacy group, accused the Pakistani authorities of “outright denial” of the difficulty.

“In circumstances of pressured conversions and baby marriages, faith is used as a canopy, so the kid who has been pressured to transform is rarely produced in court docket and therefore they can not specific if the conversion or marriage occurred by will or by pressure,” he informed Al Jazeera.

However minister Pirzada stated studies of an growing variety of pressured conversions are a part of a “nefarious agenda by Pakistan’s enemies”.

“We all know there are people who find themselves paid to run campaigns and put together studies in opposition to the nation, and we all know the aim is to malign the nation,” he stated.

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