AK and SK (Christians: risk) Pakistan CG  UKUT 569 (IAC): Failures or Flaws?
The need to revisit a case for group recognition status
The following recommendations have been drafted in light of the recent decision in AK and SK (Christians: risk) Pakistan CG  UKUT 569 (IAC) with reference to UNHRC guidelines on international protection Religion-Based Refugee Claims under Article 1A (2) of the 1951 Convention and/or the 1967 Protocol relating to the Status of Refugees, The International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) and The International Covenant on Economic, Social and Political Rights (ICESCR).
Given the current UK’s policy shift towards minorities from Pakistan seeking sanctuary in the UK the above mentioned case law is cited to deny the fact that Christians are not persecuted but discriminated which could put potential individuals at the risk of persecution, if sent back to Pakistan.
GMA was invited to be part of hearing sessions convened by the All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on International Religious Freedom and Belief on the 10 and 11 of November, 2015 chaired by Lord David Alton, in the Houses of Parliament attended by some 20 representatives of various organisations working for minority rights across the UK. Our delegates provided the evidence of persecution of all minorities and expressed GMA’s concern for the safety of minorities’ due to the fragile political, economic and judicial infrastructure which is often used to target the vulnerable minorities of Pakistan.
Following the hearing sessions in London, GMA has compiled the recommendations for the UK government to revisit its policy towards persecuted Christians from Pakistan to consider them under ‘Group Recognition Status’ whilst they seek sanctuary in the United Kingdom given the plight of minorities in Pakistan. Our recommendations will be part of the comprehensive report compiled by the All Party Parliamentary Group on International Religious Freedom and Belief (APPG).
Whilst GMA recognises that Pakistan as with all signatories, have a general reservation to interpret the ICESCR Covenant within the framework of their own constitution, (ICESCR Art 2 para.1 of the covenant) (UN.24 of the Reservations- CESCR General comment 3. 1990)GMA believes that any reservation held should not take precedence to the behest of human suffering or human life).
(AK & SK Christians: risk ) 2014was an appeals case involving the appellants, a brother and sister (both of whom are Christian, and of Pakistani origin) they initially entered the UK on study visas but later applied for asylum on the basis of religious persecution.The case highlighted the question as to whether or not Pakistani Christians in general were at serious risk of persecution and as such deserved international protection and group status for the purpose of claiming asylum.In determining the case, consideration was given to the appellant’s individual claims for asylum and for group recognition status:
Both cases raised concerns as to the reliability of evidence with respect to:
- The credibility and lack of evidence in support of the applicants statements,
- The absence of statistics in relation to some of the evidence presented in support of the application for a Group Asylum Status ; and
- In instances where statistics were supplied, these were at times difficult to separate into definitive groups, conflicting and confusing.
In light of the numerous concerns and with reference to UNHRC Guidelines, (The International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) and The International Covenant on Economic, Social and Political Rights (ICESCR).GMA reviewed the evidence and wish to make the following recommendations please click on the following link to read our recommendations in full.