Pakistan: Religious Freedom:Written question - HL8401

Asked on: 06 June 2018
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Pakistan: Religious Freedom
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what evidence, if any, they have collected about forced conversions and forced marriages in Pakistan and their impact on UK citizens who have experienced coercion.
A
Answered on: 18 June 2018

Pakistan is a human rights priority country for the UK. We remain deeply concerned by reports of forced marriages and forced conversions in Pakistan. In 2014, The Aurat Foundation and the Movement for Solidary and Peace (MSP) estimated that in Pakistan approximately 1,000 women and girls a year are abducted, forcibly converted and then married off to their abductors. The number of British nationals impacted is unknown.

Since 2012, the Forced Marriage Unit (FMU), a joint unit between the Home Office and the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, has provided support to between 1,200 and 1,400 cases per year. In this period Pakistan has been the top focus country for cases and is linked to between 35-45% of these cases. This does not necessarily mean the victim was in Pakistan but it is where the risk of marriage was. These statistics only represent the cases that have been reported to the FMU. As forced marriage is a hidden crime, these figures may not reflect the full scale of the abuse linked to Pakistan.

We regularly raise our concerns about the protection of vulnerable groups, including religious minorities and women, with the Pakistani Government at a senior level.

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