The Hindu American Foundation (HAF) recently released its eighth annual Hindu human rights report amidst increased concern over the worsening plight of Hindus in Pakistan. According to the Foundation, Hindu minorities continue to be subjected to violent attacks, restrictions on religious freedom, discriminatory laws, and economic and social marginalization in many countries around the world.
The report entitled, “Hindus in South Asia and the Diaspora: A Survey of Human Rights, 2011,” besides summarizing the situation facing the small Hindu populations in Afghanistan and Saudi Arabia, it documents human rights violations against Hindus in eight countries and regions around the world, including the following:
Jammu and Kashmir
Trinidad and Tobago
“While we are encouraged by improvements in the condition of Hindus in countries such as Fiji and Trinidad and Tobago, the situation for Hindus continues to significantly deteriorate in other areas, particularly Pakistan and Malaysia,” said Ramesh Rao, PhD, HAF’s Human Rights Coordinator and author of its 2011 report. “It is absolutely imperative that the international community and the U.S. government urgently address the systematic and rampant denial of fundamental human rights in these countries.”
In Malaysia, for instance, HAF asserts that the Bumiputra (Sons of the Soil) policies, enshrined in Article 153 of the Constitution, provide economic and social benefits to the majority ethnic Muslim Malay population, while explicitly discriminating against Hindus and other minorities.
The recent kidnapping and forced conversion of a young Pakistani Hindu girl, Rinkle Kumari, is indicative of the danger faced by the Hindu community in Pakistan, allege several human rights groups. According to the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) and the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP), at least 20 – 25 Hindu girls are kidnapped and converted to Islam every month in the southern Pakistani province of Sindh alone.