August 26, 2009

(Strasbourg, France) — The European Centre for Law and Justice (ECLJ) has filed a petition with the United Nations asking the UN to urge Pakistan to prosecute acts of violence against Pakistani Christians after a series of attacks have claimed the lives of scores of Christians — including the most recent attack this month in Gojra where at least seven Christians were burned to death.

"We have expressed in the strongest terms possible that the Pakistani government must prosecute acts of violence based upon religion," said Jay Sekulow, Chief Counsel of the ECLJ and the U.S.-based American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ). "Christians are being singled out and murdered because of their faith. Only when the Pakistani government effectively prosecutes those responsible for the acts of violence will attacks against Christians end. The 'blasphemy laws' that encourage the Muslim-on-Christian violence are not only abhorrent, but violate the principle of the universality of religious freedom, which is proclaimed to be an international human rights standard by Pakistan itself."

The ECLJ filed its petition with the United Nations calling on Pakistan to prosecute deadly attacks on Christians, which have claimed the lives of at least 60 Christians in the past decade in at least 27 separate incidents of Muslim-on-Christian violence.

In the petition filed at the United Nations, the ECLJ argues that "the Pakistani government must prosecute acts of violence based upon religion. Only when the government effectively prosecutes the perpetrators will such acts of violence against minorities stop."

The ECLJ filing states: "More than two decades of blasphemy laws have taught Pakistani Muslims that the punishment for allegedly insulting Islam is death. The Pakistani government must repeal or procedurally change blasphemy laws."

The petition also asserts: "Because Pakistan has explicitly proclaimed the terms of the (Universal Declaration of Human Rights) UDHR and (International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights) ICCPR in a resolution to the U.N. that it presented on behalf of the Organization of the Islamic Conference, it should, by reciprocity, abide by those terms with respect to its own religious minorities and be required to afford the Christians of Pakistan the same rights it expects the international community to give to Muslims."

You can read the ECLJ petition filed at the U.N. here.

You can read a summary of the filing here.

You can view pictures of the deadly violence against Christians in the Pakistani town of Gojra here.

The European Centre for Law and Justice (ECLJ) is an international law firm focusing on the protection of human rights and religious freedom in Europe and worldwide. The ECLJ is affiliated with the American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ) which focuses on protecting religious freedom in the United States. Attorneys for the ECLJ have served as counsel in numerous cases before the European Court of Human Rights. Additionally, the ECLJ has special Consultative Status with ECOSOC of the United Nations, and is accredited to the European Parliament.