Fiona Bruce MP has demanded that Government ministers speak to their political counterparts in Pakistan, Nigeria and China over religious persecution in their countries.
Speaking during a Commons debate on international development and gender-based violence, the Christian MP for Congleton highlighted the religious persecution faced by thousands of young Hindu, Shi’a, Sikh and Christian girls in Pakistan who are kidnapped and forcibly married to much older men every year.
“This happens generally with impunity because of the vulnerable economic and social status of these girls,” she said. “Women from these communities have become much more vulnerable since the outbreak of covid-19 and this increased vulnerability puts them at much greater risk.
“As a result, many young girls from minority communities, such as 14-year-old Maira Shahbaz and 13-year-old Arzoo Raja, have been kidnapped and forcibly married in Pakistan in 2020.”
Turning to Nigeria, Ms Bruce focused on the plight of Leah Sharibu – the only Christian of the 110 schoolgirls kidnapped by the Boko Haram in 2018.
Ms Sharibu, now 17, remains in captivity due to her refusing to renounce her faith.
Ms Bruce raised her plight separately in Parliament earlier this year but “made no apology” for raising it again, having met Ms Sharibu’s mother in Parliament earlier in the year.
Finally, the Congleton MP focused on how Uighar women are being violated by the Chinese Government with forced birth control, sterilisation, and abortions. Some women are even taken to prison camps to be forced to abort their own children.
Any parents who have more than two children are levied with huge fines or placed in detention camps, enforced with police raids on homes to search for children.
Responding to the debate Anthony Mangnall, MP for Totnes, said: “My hon. Friend spoke passionately, if I may say so. She shifted the focus, rightly, out of conflict zones to an area that also needs redress and resolve. To speak of the justice system as she did was a stark reminder of the lack of justice seen by so many people across the world.”
Speaking after the debate, Ms Bruce added: “Every single one of these cases is tragic and distressing, and the relevant ministers need to act with their opposite numbers in Pakistan, Nigeria and China to challenge these cruel practices.”
Picture: Fiona Bruce MP.