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UN demands Pakistan stop child marriages and forced religious conversions

UN demands Pakistan stop child marriages and forced religious conversions

ISLAMABAD, 16 Jan. (DPA/EP) –

A group of United Nations experts on Monday called on the Pakistani authorities to take measures to stop child marriages and forced religious conversions as soon as possible.

“We urge the Government to take immediate measures to prevent these acts in accordance with national laws and international commitments on Human Rights,” said this commission at a time when Hindu and Christian minorities have denounced an increase of the kidnapping of girls and adolescents to be forced into marriage.

“We are deeply concerned to hear that girls as young as 13 are being kidnapped” and “forced to marry men sometimes twice their age, and coerced into converting to Islam,” the group said.

Likewise, he has regretted that the Pakistani judicial system hardly supports the victims, who are also threatened by Islamic fundamentalist groups, despite the fact that national legislation prohibits these practices.

“The relatives say that the Police rarely take the complaints seriously, either refusing to register them or arguing that no crime has been committed by describing these kidnappings as ‘love marriages’,” they explained.

Every year, hundreds of girls — mostly teenagers — from an impoverished Hindu community in the southern province of Sindh are victims of this practice, facilitated by Islamic religious leaders and groups, according to local activists.

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