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MRG condemns attack on Christians in Pakistan and calls for increased protection of minorities in the country

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Minority Rights Group International (MRG) on Monday strongly condemned the targeted killing of at least 80 Christians in an attack on a church in Peshawar, Pakistan on Sunday.

MRG says the attack is evidence that Pakistan is seriously failing its minorities who have faced numerous such targeted killings by militant groups in the last year.

"This is a shocking and horrific attack on Christians in Pakistan which highlights the worsening situation of minorities in the country,' Carl Soderbergh, MRG's Director for Policy and Communications said.

The international human rights organization calls on Pakistan to conduct a full investigation into the attack and take action to bring the perpetrators to justice.

MRG expresses its condolences to family members of those killed and injured in the attack. It also calls on the Pakistani government to strengthen its protection to Christians and other minorities who are increasingly being targeted by militant groups.

‘The recent trend in Pakistan of such targeted attacks clearly indicates that not enough is being done to protect minorities,' Soderbergh said. ‘The government must take concerted action to show that it is genuinely serious about the well-being of all people living in the country.'

Earlier this year, Pakistan recorded the highest rise in MRG's annual Peoples under Threat global rankings, which lists countries where communities are most at threat of mass killing. Large-scale attacks targeting Pakistani Shi'as during the course of 2012 and early 2013 particularly affected Pakistan's place in the rankings.

Christians in Pakistan have long faced violence and discrimination, especially as a result of the country's archaic blasphemy laws, but this is the deadliest attack targeting the community in recent times.

Pakistan's minority rights record comes under further criticism in MRG's State of the World's Minorities and Indigenous Peoples report to be launched on 26 September 2013.

Minority Rights Group International is the leading international human rights organization working to secure the rights of ethnic, religious and linguistic minorities and indigenous peoples. We work with more than 150 partners in over 50 countries.

For more information contact:

Carl Soderbergh, MRG's Director of Policy & Communications (UK)
T: +44 207 422 4200 or 422 4227
M: +44 7837 533 675
E:  carl.soderbergh@minorityrights.org

Twitter: @MinorityRights

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