Mr. Speaker, the third petition that I am tabling highlights the ongoing detention of Mr. Huseyin Celil, who is a Canadian citizen in China.
The petitioners note that they are pleased to see the release of the two Michaels, but they want to see this government advocate for Mr. Celil and other detained Canadian citizens with the same level of intensity that was applied in terms of advocacy for the release of the two Michaels.
In particular, the asks of this petition are, first, that the Government of Canada demand that the Chinese government recognize Huseyin Celil's Canadian citizenship and provide him with consular and legal services in accordance with international law; second, that it formally state that the release of Huseyin Celil from Chinese detainment and his return to Canada is a priority of the Canadian government of equal concern to the unjust detention of Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor; and third, that the government appoint a special envoy to work on securing Mr. Huseyin Celil's release. The petitioners also want the government to seek the assistance of the Biden administration and other allies around the world in obtaining Mr. Celil's release, again similar to the practice used in the case of the two Michaels.
The next petition highlights concerns about minority rights in Pakistan. It notes that the 2021 report of the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom stated that Pakistan's blasphemy law has contributed egregiously to human rights abuses and fostered an overall atmosphere of intolerance for religious minorities, often leading to violence and discrimination.
The petitioners particularly note the case of Notan Lal, the owner and principal of a private school in Ghotki, Pakistan, who was detained and charged under the blasphemy law after being falsely accused by a student. In 2020, 20% of those accused of blasphemy were Ahmadi Muslims, and 5% were Hindus and Christians. The arrest of Mr. Lal lead to riots and the ransacking of a local Hindu temple.
The U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom has also noted the abduction and forced marriage of women and underage girls from minority communities, in particular Hindu girls from the Sindh region of Pakistan.
The petitioners call on the Government of Canada to call upon the Government of Pakistan to combat the abduction and forced marriages of women and girls in minority communities, to condemn the imprisonment of Notan Lal and demand his release, and to condemn Pakistan's blasphemy laws in general, which disproportionately target minority communities.