British Asian Christian Association Presents Report on Pakistan Persecution to UK Special Envoy at Foreign Office Ceremony


London: (By Hannah Chowdhry) Approximately 40 esteemed guests, including prominent figures from various NGOs dedicated to promoting international religious freedom, were graciously welcomed to a special appreciation reception hosted at the UK Foreign Office.

This exclusive event was meticulously coordinated by MP Fiona Bruce, who serves as the Prime Minister’s Special Envoy for Freedom of Religion or Belief.

Among the distinguished attendees were Hannah Chowdhry and Juliet Chowdhry, representing the British Asian Christian Association.

During the gathering, Hannah Chowdhry took the opportunity to present Fiona Bruce with a significant token of appreciation—a copy of our 2019 report shedding light on persecution in Pakistan. Authored by Desmond Fernandes, a renowned expert in genocide studies, the report is aptly titled “Call it by its name: ‘Persecution'”.

Hannah Chowdhry presented BACA report “Call it by its name: ‘Persecution'” to MP Fiona Bruce

A lunchtime reception for humanitarian groups was held at the Map Room of the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office on 21st March 2024.

The reception at the UK Foreign Office was a momentous occasion, bringing together influential individuals dedicated to advancing international religious freedom. With approximately 40 distinguished guests in attendance, including key figures from various NGOs, the event served as a platform for acknowledging their unwavering commitment to this vital cause.

Organized with meticulous attention to detail by MP Fiona Bruce, who holds the esteemed position of the Prime Minister’s Special Envoy for Freedom of Religion or Belief, the reception offered a fitting setting to express gratitude and recognize the invaluable contributions of those present.

Among the esteemed guests were representatives from the British Asian Christian Association, notably Hannah Chowdhry and Juliet Chowdhry. Their presence underscored the importance of solidarity in advocating for religious liberty, particularly in regions facing significant challenges.

During the reception, Hannah Chowdhry seized the opportunity to present a poignant gift to Fiona Bruce—an insightful BACA report authored by Desmond Fernandes, titled “Call it by its name: ‘Persecution'”. This gesture not only symbolized appreciation but also highlighted the urgency of addressing religious persecution, particularly in Pakistan. Written by a distinguished expert in genocide studies, the report provided a comprehensive overview of the realities faced by individuals and communities affected by persecution.

By presenting this report, Hannah Chowdhry effectively conveyed the ongoing struggles and injustices experienced by many, emphasizing the critical need for continued advocacy and action. The reception served as a reminder of the collective responsibility to safeguard religious freedom worldwide and reaffirmed the commitment of all those present to championing this fundamental human right.

Juliet Chowdhry, Trustee of the British Asian Christian Association, reflected on the event

“The event was impeccably organized, and listening to MP Fiona Bruce speak about the Foreign Office’s endeavors to champion better human rights globally was truly enlightening. I took the opportunity to express gratitude to Fiona Bruce and her team for their remarkable efforts. Fostering valuable relationships is indeed a genuine testament to their dedication and commitment to this cause.”

“The UK Foreign Office’s outreach to organizations actively engaged in advocating for human rights is commendable. There was a tangible sense of determination to effect meaningful change, which has left me reassured that our collective efforts towards global equality are making a difference.”

Hannah Chowdhry, a dedicated law student and valued volunteer, shared her insights:

“It was inspiring to witness the gathering of so many prominent figures dedicated to human rights in one place. I took full advantage of the opportunity to network, learn, and exchange ideas with others in the field. My aspirations lie in becoming a Human Rights Lawyer or serving in a civil service capacity, roles through which I can contribute to real change in the lives of millions living in fear, poverty, and facing discrimination and persecution.

“Events like these are invaluable in bringing together like-minded individuals, enabling us to collaboratively address international challenges and work towards solutions.”

The British Asian Christian Association (BACA) has been actively collaborating with the Home Office on their review of the “Country Policy and Information Note Pakistan: Christians and Christian Converts (CPIN).” This crucial document serves as a guiding reference for Home Office decision-makers handling specific types of protection and human rights claims. It plays a pivotal role in assessing Pakistani Christian asylum claims, and by meticulously outlining the nature and impact of persecution faced by Christians, our efforts facilitate genuine asylum seekers and refugees in finding safe refuge.

The latest version of the CPIN Pakistan: Christians and Christian Converts is scheduled to be updated in the coming months. Once the updated document is finalized, we are committed to sharing a copy on our website for public access and transparency.

We believe in the importance of disseminating accurate and up-to-date information to support asylum seekers and refugees, as well as to inform policymakers and the public about the realities faced by persecuted communities. By making this document readily available, we aim to contribute to greater awareness and understanding of the challenges confronting Pakistani Christians and Christian converts.

We appreciate your ongoing support and encourage you to stay tuned for updates on our website regarding the release of the updated policy note. Together, we can continue to advocate for the rights and protection of persecuted communities worldwide. This year we have also submitted information for the CPIN for India: Religious minorities and Scheduled Castes and Tribes.

Our international advocacy initiatives have been extensively documented and have led to the establishment of new pathways for Pakistani Christian asylum seekers in countries such as Canada (click here) and the Netherlands (click here) and (here). Moreover, our research endeavors and humanitarian aid efforts have had a profound impact on asylum processes in numerous other countries as well as within the United Nations framework.

We acknowledge that none of this vital work would be possible without the generous support of individuals like you. Your contributions play a crucial role in enabling us to continue our advocacy, research, and humanitarian efforts. If you would like to support our cause and contribute to our ongoing work, please consider donating (here). Together, we can make a meaningful difference in the lives of persecuted Christians seeking safety and refuge.

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