Where are UNHCR and David Miliband?
By – Shamim Masih
ISLAMABAD: In Joseph Colony over 160 Christian homes were destroyed and those arrested were quickly released on bail with no further progress reported on their trail. The sole Christian charged, Sawan Masih and was given the death sentence in a rare display of speed justice. More than 300 Christian families remained in the streets for couple of months. Same number of houses was burnt in Gojra and Christian displaced families were left to wonder in nearby streets. And during the most recent incident in Kot Radha Kishan, where we have seen the horrifying case of the killing and burning of a young Christian couple left six Christian displaced families. And ten Christian families in the village Check no.59 can be targeted at any time. Many Christian displaced families of Rimsha case are still living in tents in H-9 sector Islamabad.
According to UNHCR, around 35 million uprooted people are living in a state of flight from conflict and persecution, while many other millions have been displaced by natural disasters.
An internally displaced person –IDP is someone who is forced to flee his or her home but who remains within his or her country’s borders. They are often referred to as refugees, although they don’t fall with the current legal definition of a refugee. IDPs are among the most vulnerable victims of conflict. Like refugees, they have fled fighting or human rights abuses but, unlike them, they have not crossed an international border. UNHCR’s original mandate does not specifically cover IDPs, but because of the agency’s expertise on displacement, it has for many years been protecting and assisting millions of them, more recently through the “cluster approach.” UNHCR has the lead role in overseeing the protection and shelter needs of IDPs as well as coordination and management of camps.
Mr. Miliband, who is President of International Rescue Committee – IRC, which is a global humanitarian aid, relief and development NGO which offers emergency aid and long-term assistance to refugees and those displaced by war, persecution or natural disaster is on his visit to Pakistan and have been meeting with high level leadership of the country.
Going by past instances, members of minority communities are persecuted – and prosecuted in Pakistan. Thousands are forced to live in utter destitution, without adequate access to food, jobs, healthcare, and education. But we have seen that neither UNHCR nor IRC have ever since bothered to take care of these IDPs, while it has been assisting million other. Isn’t it the biased attitude of UNHCR and IRC towards Pakistani Christians?
As citizens, they retain all of their rights and protection under both human rights and international humanitarian law. Unfortunately prosecution is on while perpetrators are set free. The administration and the judiciary are responsible for this unjust state of affairs. If the perpetrators of previous incidents of religious extremism such as Gojra, Kasur, Joseph Colony and blasphemy case against minor Rimsha have been held accountable, no one would have dared to commit such crime again. Transgressors of law do so with impunity and are further encouraged when they are evicted with any penalty. I don’t see any future for Pakistani Christians, when they are prosecuted in their own country and ignored by UN and west as well.