PAKISTAN: UN Human Rights Experts Call on Pakistan to Immediately Release Christian Blasphemy Law Victim – Stephen Masih

WASHINGTON, D.C., 21 October 2021 – UN human rights experts urgently appeal to Pakistan to release Stephen Masih, a Pakistani Christian man, who the authorities have detained for over two years awaiting trial for alleged blasphemy. The experts also urge the Government of Pakistan to comply with its international obligations, recognising freedom of religion or belief and expression, rights of minorities and through the repeal all its anti-blasphemy and anti-apostasy legislation.

 “We are seriously concerned by the persecution and ongoing detention of Mr. Masih on blasphemy grounds, and by his treatment at the hands of the judicial and prison authorities who are aware of his psychosocial disability and health condition,” the experts said.

“We call on the authorities to urgently review Mr. Masih’s case, and to release and drop all charges against him, and to ensure protection for him and his family,”

UN experts

The experts said that they found it, “deeply alarming” that a mere argument with a neighbour could lead to, “the judicial harassment of an individual based on his religious or other beliefs, and by the use of anti-blasphemy laws which may carry the death penalty.” 

Jubilee Campaign et. al sent a letter addressed to the UN Special Rapporteur on Disabilities in September outlining the case of Stephen Masih and asking the UN human rights experts to intervene.

The UN experts raised concern over the lack of medical care given to Mr. Masih in Sialkot District Jail and the delay of medical reviews and added that Mr. Masih’s reported detention in a cell with prisoners of the Muslim faith put him in danger and was a matter of concern.

“We urge the Government of Pakistan to comply with its international human rights obligations, including with regard to freedom of expression, religion or belief, as well as with regard to the rights of persons who belong to minorities, to repeal all its anti-blasphemy and anti-apostasy legislation and to take measures to combat advocacy of religious hatred that constitutes incitement to discrimination and violence,” the experts said.

UN human rights experts’ statements carry weight as they are one of the main bodies that work independently of sovereign states to “examine, monitor, advise, and publicly report” on human rights issues.  

Jubilee Campaign welcomes the statement by the UN Special Procedures and calls on Pakistan to comply. As Pakistan currently holds a position in the Human Rights Council, it has a responsibility to “uphold high human rights standards,” which is a commitment Pakistan itself agreed to when they adopted resolution 60/251.

Voice for Justice reported that following the news of the UN human rights experts’ public statement release Christians in Pakistan were encouraged to finally find someone raising their voice and seeing their plight.

Read the Office of the High Commissioner on Human Rights’ press release here

Jubilee Campaign is a non-profit organization which promotes the human rights and religious liberty of ethnic and faith minorities in the most oppressive countries. We assist individuals seeking asylum from religious persecution as well as promote the care and well-being of larger groups of refugees fleeing persecution.

3 thoughts on “PAKISTAN: UN Human Rights Experts Call on Pakistan to Immediately Release Christian Blasphemy Law Victim – Stephen Masih”

  1. Javed Iqbal Gill

    You Are working good job for Pakistani Christians we are with you we want to work with you

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