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Mike Pompeo condemns attack on minorities, pinpoints to Hindus in Pakistan

The US on Wednesday condemned Pakistan for not protecting the religious freedom of its minorities, who in its case includes Hindus, as it launched an alliance of “like-minded partners who treasure, and fight for, international religious freedom for every human being”.

US secretary of state Mike Pompeo made the comments during the launch of the 27-nation International Religious Freedom Alliance.

“We condemn terrorists and violent extremists who target religious minorities whether they are Yazidis in Iraq, Hindus in Pakistan, Christians in northeast Nigeria, or Muslims in Burma,” Pompeo said.

The top US diplomat’s statement comes after India amended a citizenship law to grant citizenship to migrants from six minority communities from Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Pakistan who entered the country after December 31, 2014.

Reports of Hindu religious sites being vandalised and frequent cases of forced conversion of Hindu girls for marriage frequently emerge from Pakistan.

“We condemn blasphemy and apostasy laws that criminalise matters of the soul. We condemn the Chinese Communist Party’s hostility to all faiths. We know several of you courageously pushed back against Chinese pressure by agreeing to be part of this Alliance, and we thank you for that,” Pompeo said.

Australia, Brazil, the United Kingdom, Israel, Ukraine, the Netherlands and Greece are among the prominent countries to join the alliance.

“Defending the right of all people to live their lives according to their conscience is one of this administration’s top priorities,” Pompeo said in his address.

“Indeed, we must affirm, and fight for, that truth now more than ever. More than eight in 10 people in the world today live where they cannot practice their faith freely,” he said.

According to a senior State Department official, participating countries are to discuss the kind of areas that they are going to work and focus on.

“The areas will include things like technology and religious oppression, blasphemy and apostasy laws, for instance. The toolbox will include things like, whether it’s putting out statements, actions that can take place in international bodies that the group can come together and hopefully come behind, the possibilities of sanctions being used,” said the official.

The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said that it is a consensual body. Every nation is not bound to join in each of the items that come forth.

“But as countries look at this and say that’s something we’re interested in, then they can join. And if they decide, look, that’s not one we’re interested in, then they won’t, and there is no penalty or foul for any of participation or non-participation,” the official said.

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