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Ulrike Müller stands up for human rights in Pakistan

Ulrike Mueller
Charles Coudoré

On Thursday, April 29, the European Parliament passed a resolution against blasphemy laws in Pakistan. Specifically, it addressed the cases of Shagufta Kausar and Shafqat Emmanuel, who were sentenced to death in 2014 on blasphemy charges.

Our German MEP Ulrike Müller (Freie Wähler) negotiated the resolution for the Renew Europe group. In her view, blasphemy laws violate human rights, minority rights, and freedom of expression and religion:

"In the case of the two convicts Kausar and Emmanuel, we insist that the Pakistani authorities immediately revoke their sentence. We want to prevent them from torturing this Christian couple to extort a confession. This must not happen, not in this case and not in others!" Müller said.

The Renew Europe Group in the European Parliament strongly condemns these laws and the death penalty as a whole and expects the Government in Pakistan to abolish them as soon as possible. These laws are often abused to make false accusations to target vulnerable groups, in particular women and religious minorities in Pakistan, and to serve various incentives, including settling personal disputes or seeking economic gain.

Müller continued: "We strongly condemn Pakistani authorities threatening EU citizens with blasphemy accusations. The safety of all European citizens in Pakistan must be guaranteed."

She subsequently demanded consequences for Pakistan's status in international funding programs: "We expect the European Commission and the European External Action Service to immediately reassess Pakistan's candidate status for the GSP+ program and to report soon to the European Parliament on whether there is a basis for opening a procedure to withdraw this status and the associated benefits from Pakistan."

The GSP+ (Generalised Scheme of Preferences) program is an EU initiative for sustainable development and good governance. It offers tariff reductions to less developed countries that implement 27 international conventions that promote human rights, labour rights, environmental protection, and good governance.