Aid to the Church in Need slams UK’s report on human rights violations

Aid to the Church in Need slams UK’s report on human rights violationsNeville Kyrke-Smith, National Director of Aid to the Church in Need (UK), an international Catholic Charity has attacked a Government report on human rights violations, saying it "glosses over" the growing problem of persecution against Christians. He also said the Foreign and Commonwealth Office 2012 Report on Human Rights and Democracy published this week "downplays the scale of Christian persecution". Although he praised the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) for considering religious freedom issues in its report, he criticised the coverage of intolerance towards Christians.

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He highlighted the exodus of Christians from the Middle East, especially Iraq, describing the report's references to this as "woefully inadequate". "While the report describes attacks on members of the Iraq's LGBT community and Emos, it is virtually silent about the various attacks on Christians," he added. He cited research showing that 200 million Christians face discrimination or persecution and other reports that at least 100,000 are killed for their Christian faith every year. He expressed particular concern that the problems faced by Christian women in many countries were given little or no coverage.

He expressed concern that there was no mention of the problems facing Christian women in Pakistan. He said: "Women from religious minorities [in Pakistan] are more likely to experience sexual harassment or be raped, so it was particularly distressing to find this aspect entirely overlooked.

Mr Kyrke-Smith concluded: "Sometimes we are not always aware of the scale of the problem in the West, as some Christian communities are afraid to speak out about the reality as it could make matters worse." "But that means that those of us in the West who are aware of their suffering have a moral responsibility to do so on their behalf and highlight the dangers to and suffering of some communities."

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