Lord Alton has published his report following Evidence-Taking Sessions With Pakistani Christians – September 2015.
The team took evidence from refugees and human rights advocates and also had meetings with UNHCR officials and diplomats in Thailand. “Throughout our meetings with human rights advocates and escapees we heard a number of disturbing accounts of shocking and systematic persecution in Pakistan,” Lord Alton writes.
“The accounts which we heard during our evidence sessions paint a picture of well founded fear and from which asylum represents the only prospect of safety and survival.”
The blog includes a number of stories drawn from the evidence that was presented to them:
“One witness described how his legs had been broken by his brothers after he became a Christian in Pakistan. After he refused to recant they hired two men to kill him. Because his sister gave him shelter they incinerated her home and she died in the fire. His wife abandoned him and he fled to Bangkok with his 12-year-old, traumatised, son.
“Even in Thailand he has received four threatening phone calls from members of his family in Pakistan.
“Meanwhile, he has been arrested on several occasions and although he made desperate phone calls to UNHCR – worried about his son being left alone – he claims that no-one responded or came to see him. He says that his emails to UNHCR remain unanswered. His case re-enforces the failure of both UNHCR and the Royal Thai Government to honour obligations and duties concerning the protection and treatment of children – both those living with parents whose claims are pending often in massively overcrowded conditions and deprived of education) and especially those incarcerated in the Detention Centre (where UNHCR officials told us that conditions are worse than those in Thai prisons).”
He concludes “We note that Indian newspapers recently reported that the Government of India suggested that Christians, Hindus, and Sikhs being persecuted for their religious faith might be given the right to settle in India. Although this is a very sad reflection on the failure of the Government of Pakistan to provide protection against the persecution of its religious minorities, and the complete absence of religious toleration and respect for minorities, an Indian refuge may offer Pakistan’s persecuted citizens some future prospect of safety and security and we hope that UNHCR are exploring this option with the Governments of both countries.”