Pakistani conversion from Islam to Christianity

Concerning Mr. R vs. Denmark violation of CCPR article 6 and 7.

The applicant is the son of a Pakistani diplomat. While his father is Muslim, his mother is Christian, and all 3 children are now Christian. This is a fact that their father cannot accept, and when he discovered the author’s interest in Christianity in 2010 in Norway, the father sent the author back to Pakistan. The author applied for asylum in Denmark, and he explained that during his stay in Pakistan, he was persecuted because of his Christian faith. The Danish Immigration Service nevertheless rejected the author’s asylum claim on the 4th of November 2011. The Refugee Appeals Board rejected the asylum claim on the 4th of February 2013.

The author was born Muslim, because his father is Muslim. On the 28th of October 2012, the author was baptized in a Danish Church, and this was made public on Facebook. These are hard facts that were acknowledged by the Danish Refugee Board in its decision as of February 2013. However, the Refugee Board refused to believe that his conversion was known in Pakistan. The Refugee Board emphasizes that the baptism can not be assumed general knowledge in Pakistan. It is not clear, how the Refugee Board is able to make the assumption that no knows about the conversion in Pakistan. Even if that is the case, the decision then seems to imply that the author can return to Pakistan, while he is hiding his Christian belief, and thus prevent persecution due to his violation of Sharia Law (by leaving the Muslim faith).

The applicants right not to be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment according to CCPR article 6 and 7 risks being violated if he is returned to Pakistan, due to his conversion in Denmark from Islam to Christianity.

The Court of Justice of the European Communities found in the judgement Bundesrepublik Deutschland v Y & Z of 5 September 2012, that a person should be granted refugee status if it is established that, upon return to his country of origin, the person concerned will follow a religious practice, which will expose him to a real risk of persecution. The court further found that the fact that the person could avoid that risk by abstaining from certain religious practices is in principle irrelevant. In other words the author should not be forced to hide his conviction after return to Pakistan.

A complaint was also sent to CCPR. The committee decided to discontinue the consideration of the communication since the subject matter off the communication became moot, as the author’s current whereabouts are unknown.

30. April 2020

CCPR 2440/2014
Comm: Human Rights