End Forced Conversion of Hindu Girls to Islam in Sindh, Pakistan
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Pakistan is known as one of the world’s most religiously intolerant countries. Freedom of religion is loosely legislated and religious minorities, such as Hindus, regularly suffer discrimination and violence. The intolerance is such that 75% of Hindus have been forced or coerced into leaving their ancestral home in search of safety. One of the biggest threats to Sindhi Hindus is the forced conversion of their girls to Islam.
At the time of Pakistan’s independence in 1947, Hindus constituted 47% of the population in Sindh. Now they only make up about 7% of it. In recent years violence against Sindhi Hindus has escalated with attacks on their places of worship, extortion, and attacks on community members. Last month two Hindu brothers we shot and killed in the town of Mithi.
Current statistics estimate that every month 20 Hindu girls are abducted and converted in Islam. The numbers may be higher, but official figures are difficult to obtain because police often refuse to register cases of forced conversion and work in conjunction with the religious institutions to cover or legitimize the conversions. Most of the victims are under the age of 16, some as young as 11 years old. Once the girls have been married off and converted, they are prohibited from contacting their families, leaving them even more vulnerable to exploitation. To date, not a single perpetrator has been convicted because state institutions prefer to take the side of religion rather than the side of justice.
By signing this petition you stand with the people of Sindh and the Sindhi Hindu community in saying that the forced conversions must end. The government must take action against such rights violations and bring all parties involved in the abduction and conversion of these girls to justice. Police, religious leaders and institutions, and community members must be held accountable for their actions. Further, the government must ensure that the victims, their families, and their lawyers or others helping them with their case, be guaranteed safety and protection under the law. It is crucial to safeguard the human rights of all minorities, particularly religious minorities in Pakistan. End the practice of forced conversion and protect Hindu girls from exploitation.
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