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Measures urged to stop forced conversions

Lahore

May 3, 2019

LAHORE: Minority rights activists and civil society leaders jointly organised a consultation on Faith Conversions and Religious Freedom here on Thursday.

The meeting was attended by minority rights activists, civil society leaders, journalists and prominent activists including, Ravi Kumar (MPA), Joseph Francis, Retired Justice Kailash Kohli, Ali Pahl (Advocate), senior Advocate Bhagwandas, Pushpa Kumari and Peter Jacob (Chairperson Peoples Commission for Minorities Rights).

The participants voiced civil society concerns about the recurring complaints of forced conversions and call for practical measures to curb forced conversions.

Jacob emphasised on understanding the circumstances of faith conversions in Pakistan and how the other contextual factors such as Violence against Women & Girls (VAWG), religious discrimination, poverty and demography particularly play into disadvantage of the young women belonging to religious minorities.

IA Rehman, a prominent human rights activist, emphasised upon the collective duty of the state and society to ensure that victims of forced conversions have ready and meaningful access to justice.

Retired Justice Kailash Nath Kohli reiterated upon the need to institutionalise legal safeguards by enacting a specific and comprehensive legislative framework to deal with forced conversion cases.

At the end, participants unanimously adopted a resolution calling upon the federal and provincial governments and their subsidiary bodies to undertake a range of legal, policy and administrative measures aimed at the prevention and elimination of forced conversions in Pakistan.

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