Canada Concerned by Reports of Death Sentence for Blasphemy in Pakistan

(No. 362 - November 14, 2010 - 5:30 p.m. ET) The Honourable Lawrence Cannon, Minister of Foreign Affairs, today issued the following statement expressing Canada’s concern over reports that a Pakistani woman has been sentenced to death for blasphemy:

“Canada is deeply concerned over Asia Bibi’s death sentence for blasphemy, issued by a local court in Pakistan.

“Canada continues to call on Pakistan to repeal laws criminalizing blasphemy, which restrict freedom of religion and expression and have disproportionately targeted religious minorities.”

The promotion and protection of human rights are an integral part of Canada’s foreign policy. Canada stands up for human rights and takes principled positions on important issues to promote freedom, democracy, human rights and the rule of law.

“Canadian officials will continue to urge the Pakistani authorities to ensure equal rights and protection for members of minority communities,” said Minister Cannon.

- 30 -

For further information, media representatives may contact:

Jacques Labrie
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister of Foreign Affairs

Foreign Affairs Media Relations Office
Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada