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Parliamentary questions
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10 August 2009
by Konrad Szymański (ECR)
to the Commission

 Subject: Anti-Christian riots in Pakistan
 Answer in writing 

Since 30 July 2009, anti-Christian riots have been taking place in the Punjab region of Pakistan, occurring mostly in the city of Gojra and fuelled by extremist Muslim groups.

To date, some eight people have died, including four women and a child. Over 60 houses inhabited by Christian families and two churches have been either destroyed or set alight.

This is another case in which hatred directed towards Christians has been met with indifference from the authorities. The Pakistani police are not guaranteeing the safety of Christians' lives or property within Pakistan, while the state authorities disregard persecution of Christians in the country.

Disregard for the principles of religious freedom is a growing problem for the observance of human rights worldwide. The freedom to profess and practice one's faith is one of the most important areas of human rights observance, having been laid down in Article 18 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the OSCE final document and Article 9 of the European Convention.

Does the European Union intend to make its concerns and objections regarding the deteriorating situation of Christians in Pakistan known to the government of that country?
What measures does the EU intend to take to bring political pressure to bear on Pakistan in this matter, particularly regarding greater involvement from the police, the public prosecutor's office and the courts in punishing those responsible for the anti-Christian riots?
Do the European Commission's guidelines on human rights cover the area of religious freedom?
Is religious freedom in the world not an issue in which the European Union should play a greater role, given that it promotes human rights observance worldwide?

Original language of question: PLOJ C 10 E, 14/01/2011
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