Human rights: persecution in Pakistan; vulnerable groups in Syria

The European Parliament passed three resolutions on 17 April, supporting the recommendations of the UN Commission of Inquiry into human rights violations in North Korea; expressing deep concern at the increase in sectarian violence and religious intolerance in Pakistan; and condemning the recent attacks against religious and ethnic communities and the suffering of women and children in Syria.

 Persecution in Pakistan

MEPs are gravely concerned that the controversial blasphemy laws are open to misuse which can affect people of all faiths in Pakistan. They ask the authorities to review them and their application. They also call for hate material to be removed from the curricula and for teaching on community and religious tolerance to be included in the basic syllabus.

All acts of violence against religious communities and all kinds of discrimination and intolerance on the grounds of religion and beliefs are strongly condemned by MEPs, who are concerned that minority women and girls often suffer twice, through the practice of forced conversion and targeted sexual violence.

 

Vulnerable groups in Syria

All vulnerable communities in Syria should be protected, say MEPs, by allowing humanitarian access and lifting all sieges of populated areas, including the Old City of Holms. They call for the establishment of safe havens and for the creation of humanitarian corridors. They express their support for all efforts at local level to avoid and combat sectarian violence in rebel-held areas and in Kurdish-majority areas and call for special attention to be given to the vulnerable situation of Palestine refugees in Syria.