New York: At a United Nations meet, the United States, the United Kingdom and Canada raised the issue of suppression of religious freedom by China and Pakistan, and slammed the two Asian nations for "persecuting and repressing" their religious minorities.
During the meet on Safety of Religious Minorities here on Thursday, the US, UK and Canada expressed concerns over the increasing, widespread and undue restrictions on religious freedom in the two countries. They also highlighted the discrimination suffered by the Uyghur community in China and of Christians, Ahmadis, Hindus and other minorities in Pakistan.
Naveed Walter, President of Human Rights Focus Pakistan, apprised the United Nations about the "biased behaviour" of Chinese and Pakistani regimes against minorities in their respective countries. He also pointed out that in countries like China, national security was being used as a pretext to curb religious freedom of the minorities.
"Today, a large number of people are marginalised in their own societies. The biased behaviour dwells in other areas also, like the minorities on the basis of religious affiliation as in Pakistan, Ahmadis having a situation; like China, growing number of countries using national security as a pretext for restricted religious expression at the role of religion in public domain," said Walter.
China and Pakistan have been condemned internationally for cracking down on the minorities living in their countries. China has been accused of oppressing the Uyghurs by sending them to mass detention camps, interfering in their religious activities and sending the community to undergo some form of forceful re-education or indoctrination.
Meanwhile, Pakistan has also reportedly been discriminating against its religious minorities which is manifested in various forms of targeted violence, mass murders, extrajudicial killings, abduction, rapes, forced conversion to Islam, etc., making the Pakistani Hindus, Christians, Sikhs, Ahmadiyyas and Shias one of the most persecuted minorities in the region.
Washington also expressed concerns over the Chinese government using several measures to suppress the minorities.
"We remain deeply concerned about the Chinese government escalating widespread and undue restrictions on religious freedom in China. We urge the Chinese government to respect the human rights and fundamental freedoms of everyone in that nation," said Sam Brownback, US Ambassador-at-Large for International Religious Freedom.
London and Ottawa also expressed their concerns on the same.
"UK has spoken up for rights of religious communities and minorities across the world. From Uyghurs in China, Christians and Ahmadis in Pakistan," said Lord Ahmad, UK PM's Special Envoy on Freedom of Religion or Belief.