Monday, October 10, 2011

WCC demands repulsion of blasphemy law

The World Council of Churches (WCC) on Monday demanded the repulsion of blasphemy law, with the WCC general secretary asking the government to repeal Section 295C of the penal code.
Addressing a press conference, Rev Dr Olav Fykes Tveit said WCC expressed its serious concern on several occasions and urged the Pakistani government to repeal Section 295C of the Pakistan penal code, which carries a mandatory death penalty for anyone found guilty of blasphemy.
“On behalf of the member churches of WCC in different parts of the world, the WCC urged the government of Pakistan on several occasions to guarantee the rights of all-religious minorities in the country,” he said, adding that it was a matter of encouragement that there was a voice of dissent against acts of discrimination and violence against minorities coming from the Pakistani public. Ordinary citizens and key religious scholars of this country do speak of reform and maintaining their view that the Islam was a religion of peace that prohibited compulsion and persecution, Dr Olav said.

Encouraging the liberal forces in Pakistan, he said it was also encouraging that there had also been a positive civil response to engage various stakeholders in conversations about the blasphemy law and other discriminatory laws that are targeted against the minorities.

Demanding of the government of Pakistan to provide security to minorities rights, he said that for some years, the WCC had been receiving reports of discriminatory practices and persecution of religious minorities in Pakistan, including Christians, Ahamadis, and Hindus.

During the past several years, the WCC had been following the situation of the human rights violation of minority religious communities in the country, he said, adding that there had been many incidents of violence, killings and other forms of persecutions against Christians in the country and at a number of times, the WCC responded to such situations and wrote to authorities in Pakistan, Dr Olav said. He said the international community as well as civil society organisations in Pakistan had deplored such actions from time to time through various means.

“However, we are extremely disappointed that in spite of all such urges, the authorities in Pakistan could not prevent human rights violations and persecutions against religious minorities in the country,” he said.

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