UN experts urge Pakistan to protect minorities after attack
UN rights experts on Friday urged Pakistan's government to do more to protect religious minorities after an attack at two mosques in the country that killed some 80 people.
"Members of this religious community have faced continuous threats, discrimination and violent attacks in Pakistan," three UN experts said in a statement.
"The government must take every step to ensure the security of members of all religious minorities and their places of worship so as to prevent any recurrence of today's dreadful incident."
The mosques attacked belonged to the Ahmadi community, which Pakistan has declared non-Muslim. The minority has been attacked by Sunni extremists before, but the magnitude of Friday's assault was unprecedented.
According to the UN experts, there had been warning signs prior to the attack which were not heeded.
"In Pakistan and elsewhere, Ahmadis have been declared non-Muslims and have been subject to a number of undue restrictions and in many instances institutionalised discrimination," the statement said.
"This emboldens opinion makers who wish to fuel hatred and perpetrators of attacks against religious minorities."
The statement was from Asma Jahangir, a special rapporteur on freedom of religion; Gay McDougall, an independent expert on minority issues; and Philip Alston, a special rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions.
© 2010 AFP