BHRC’s Information-Secretary highlights Balochistan’s human rights situation during the 45th session of the UNHRC

Geneva: 25/09/2020

Qambar Malik, the information-secretary of the Baloch Human Rights Council (BHRC) delivered a statement on the deteriorating human rights situation in Balochistan during the Item-4 General Debate of the 45th session of the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva.

“Balochistan is suffering a severe humanitarian crisis, having been in the throes of a ruthless genocidal conflict for the past two decades”, Qambar told the UN. 

The BHRC representative emphasized that the Pakistani army’s sponsored death squads are roaming with impunity. A large number of Baloch youth has been the victim of forcible disappearances and extrajudicial killings. Thousands of them have fled to different countries in recent years.

Commenting on Pakistan military’s crimes against humanity in Balochistan, he further said that the military establishment of Pakistan and its clandestine agencies are kidnapping, torturing, and murdering activists and human rights defenders to counter the Baloch people’s demand to exercise their right to self-determination. The recent killing of a student Hayat Baloch in Turbat testifies to that. He was brutally murdered by the Frontier Corps while his parents were forced to watch his unfortunate fate.

“Considering the gravity of the situation, we request this council to put a resolution in the Council to send a fact-finding mission to Balochistan to investigate the gross violations of human rights and subsequently, make the state military officials accountable for their crimes against humanity in Balochistan”, added Qambar.

International community asked to intervene in Sindh & Balochistan

The Baloch Human Rights Council (BHRC) and World Sindhi Congress (WSC) jointly held a seminar entitled, “The call for international intervention in Sindh and Balochistan: legal and humanitarian aspects“ on Thursday 24 September 2020 at Royal Hotel in Geneva.

This seminar overviewed grave violations of human rights, with a special focus on enforced disappearances and extra-judicial killings in Sindh and Balochistan by the state establishment of Pakistan. 

The participants expressed the view that in all possible measures and accounts the acts of the Pakistani military tantamount to genocide, and crimes against humanity, therefore, calling for an urgent international intervention to ensure the lives and human rights of millions of people. The seminar also discussed the destructive role of CPEC which in the guise of economic prosperity is stealing the mineral and sea resources of Sindh and Balochistan while depriving their people of its benefits. 

The speakers in the seminar expressed that Pakistan has continued the dehumanization and genocide of these two nations. They stressed on the need of concerted and meaningful efforts by the United Nations and the international community to uphold their mandate and commitment to human rights by ensuring Pakistan does not operate to the exclusion of international law. 

Qambar Malik, the Information Secretary of the BHRC moderated the talk whereas Dr Lakhu Luhana, the General-Secretary of the WSC presided over the seminar. 

The General-Secretary of BHRC, Samad Baloch provided a detailed statement on the doctrine of humanitarian intervention and its general application. He emphasized that it is the moral and legal obligation of the international community to intervene in a situation where the state is violating all international laws and regulations regarding the protection and the dignity of citizens. Pakistan has been carrying out the worst of the human rights abuses hardly witnessed in the region yet the champions of human rights have preferred to turn a blind eye to these crimes which raise serious questions on the role of the UN. 

Other prominent speakers included Merce Monje of the Unrepresented Nations and Peoples Organization who criticised the Chinese led BRI and explained how China with its aggressive expansionist plans is fending on the resources of the various nations of the region. She showed disappointment over the role of Germany which in the hope of economic gains is overlooking the destructive side of the CPEC which goes contrary to Germany’s stand and promises on human rights. 

Shaukat Kashmiri of the UKPNP, Dr Syed Sadat of Afghan Unity Front and Baseer Naved, the Executive Director of IHRC slammed Pakistan military’s role in the forcible disappearances and extra-judicial killings of dissents in Sindh, Balochistan, KPK and PoK. They strongly criticized the forced conversion of Sindhi Hindu girls to Islam. 

In his remarks, Dr Lukhu Luhana emphasized that the UN and EU should mandate independent and impartial investigations into serious human rights abuses which as a consequence of remaining unchecked for decades have created a serious humanitarian crisis in Balochistan and Sindh. They should have a clear stand on Pakistan’s actions in Sindh and Balochistan.

“These investigations must also produce results and recommend steps to ensure an end to the systematic abuse facing the Baloch and Sindhis”, said Dr Lakhu Luhana. 

At the end the seminar unanimously adopted a resolution calling for immediate international intervention in Balochistan and Sindh. The resolution was read by Guhram Baloch, the representative of BHRC in the Netherlands.

BHRC & WSC protest outside UN building against Pakistan’s human rights violations in Balochistan & Sindh

Geneva: 25/09/2020:

The Baloch Human Rights Council (BHRC) and the World Sindhi Congress (WSC) held a joint protest outside the UN building at the Broken Chair in Geneva during the 45th session of the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) against the institutionalised state violence and other forms of socio-economic and political suppression of the Baloch and Sindhi people by the Pakistan military.

Human Rights defenders from various nations including Pashtuns and Kashmiris who also suffer at the hands of the military establishment of Pakistan, participated in the protest and expressed solidarity with the Baloch and Sindhis.

Samad Baloch the Secretary-General of the BHRC led the protest whereas those who addressed the protest included the Secretary-General of WSC Dr Lakhu Luhana, Kaihan Mashriqwala leader of the PTM Italy and a human rights defender Anila Gulzar. 

The protestors called the United Nations and the International community to live up to their mandate and commitments without any hindrance and political pressures and make Pakistan which is a signatory to various human rights instruments to end its genocidal policies in Balochistan and Sindh.

“Stop Abducting Baloch People”, “Pakistan Stop Baloch Genocide”, “Stop Abducting Sindhi People” were slogans chanted by the protesters while different roller banners highlighting the various violations of human rights in Balochistan and Sindh by Pakistan were put on display.

“The perpetrators of crimes against humanity in Balochistan must be tried in the International court of justice” read one of the banners. 

Following the protest, a memorandum documenting some of the major human rights issues requiring urgent attention was also submitted to the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights by the BHRC representatives.

BHRC has announced the details of its events in Geneva during the 45th session of UNHRC in September.

London:

The Baloch Human Rights Council (BHRC) has announced the details of its activities in Geneva during the 45th session of the UN Human Rights Council in September this year.

“Due to various kinds of restrictions because of the corona epidemic, BHRC has reduced the number of its activities”, read the statement.

According to a BHRC press release, BHRC colleagues will be participating in four events during their stay in Geneva.

  1. Interventions on item 3 and 4: BHRC colleagues will deliver statements during the Item 3 and 4 General Debates, commenting on the socio-cultural, economic and human rights violations in Balochistan.
  2. Conference/Seminar: A conference/Seminar will be jointly held by BHRC and World Sindhi Congress (WSC) in the Royal Hotel, Geneva on 24 September. The topic of the conference will be: “The call for international intervention in Sindh and Balochistan: legal and humanitarian aspects“. Prominent speakers are expected to shed light on the issue.
  3. Demonstration: A demonstration to highlight the atrocities being committed in Balochistan will be held at the Broken Chair on 25th September.
  4. Memorandum/Petition. A memorandum regarding the human rights situation in Balochistan will be submitted to Michelle Bachelet, head of United Nations High Commission for Human rights on 25th September.

The BHRC has been advocating for the right to self-determination of the people of Balochistan since its inception in 2008. It has arranged numerous campaigns in Europe and North America, highlighting the various human rights and humanitarian challenges facing the Baloch in Iran and Pakistan to persuade the international community and the United Nations to intervene in Balochistan and investigate the gross violations of human rights that should be followed by accountability measures and prosecutions.

BHRC denounces Pakistan’s acts of reprisal against families of Baloch insurgents

The Baloch human rights council (BHRC) strongly condemns Pakistan’s acts of reprisal against the families of Baloch insurgents.

It is quite concerning that the state establishment of Pakistan is using every possible instance to justify enforced disappearances, although, the United Nations clearly states that Enforced Disappearances cannot be justified under any circumstances either in peace or war. 

This came quite recently following the attack on Karachi Stock Exchange (KSE) by Baloch insurgents that various media personnel, analysts and social media users linked to the powerful military establishment of Pakistan, interconnected the KSE attackers with the list of victims of enforced disappearances drafted by the Voice for Baloch Missing Persons and tabled in the National Assembly of Pakistan by Sardar Akhtar Mengal of Balochistan National Party. These developments reflect that the security forces of Pakistan and its clandestine agencies are not willing to resolve the prevalent human rights and humanitarian problems in Balochistan including enforced disappearances in a peaceful manner rather continue using brute military force to silence every dissent and evade accountability for the crimes against humanity in Balochistan.

According to local sources, the security forces of Pakistan have raided the houses of those insurgents involved in the KSE attack on Monday. The forces have raided the house of Tasleem in Dasht, Kech, and have forcibly disappeared his three brothers namely Mehboob, Nadeem and Niaz s/o Shambey, whereas, Waheed and Abdul s/o Hammal, brothers of another attacker Salman Hammal were abducted from their family home in Mand, Balochistan.

This is contradictory to the state’s approach towards the Taliban that it regards as its strategic assets and who in most cases enjoy the legal cover and are trialled in the court of law. In Balochistan, the military agencies act as Judge, Jury and Prosecutor while dealing with Baloch dissidents, despite repeated demands by the families of victims of enforced disappearances to disclose the fate of the victims and present them before the court as advised by the law of the country.

The BHRC in line with the international instruments that constitutes part of international criminal law, human rights and humanitarian law, has time and again demanded that Pakistan must end practicing enforced disappearances in Balochistan. These demands have been echoed by the UNWGEID and other independent human rights organizations such as Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch and the Human Rights Council of Pakistan but unfortunately, without stirring Pakistan a little to revise its criminal policies in Balochistan.

Pakistan must not be allowed to operate to the exclusion of international law and justify enforced disappearances under the pretext of exercising state sovereignty. The security forces of Pakistan are criminal not only under the domestic law but international law, responsible for thousands of enforced disappearances and extra-judicial murders in Balochistan, and elsewhere in the country. We demand that the suffering families of victims of enforced disappearances must be shared with the fate of the victims and must be served justice and reparation, including accountability measures initiated against the military officials stationed in Balochistan as the international law commands.

The conference on Balochistan in the House of Lords cancelled

London: The scheduled conference in the House of Lords on 28 April 2020 has been cancelled because of the situation created with the outbreak of coronavirus. 

The conference titled “Balochistan: War crimes & human rights abuses in a forgotten conflict” was set to highlight various aspects of the Baloch national question, and the humanitarian crisis developed in Balochistan as a result of the human rights violations being perpetrated by Pakistani authorities.

Distinguished academics, policymakers, and human rights defenders were to participate in the event. Organized by the Baloch Human Rights Council (BHRC) in collaboration with the Peter Tatchell Foundation and the World Sindhi Congress, it was to be chaired by the Green Party leader Nathalie Bennet. The announcement to cancel the event was made because of the closure of the Parliament and related circumstances.

The BHRC will reschedule the conference to a later date after carefully considering the situation.

Baloch Human Rights Council appoints representative in the Netherlands

London: The Baloch Human Rights Council has appointed Gohraam Baloch as its representative in the Netherlands.

The decision came following Gohraam Baloch’s pledge to adhere to the aims and objectives of the council to protect and promote the rights of the people of Balochistan.

Gohraam has previously been associated with the Baloch Students Organization (BSO) in Turbat, Balochistan.

The UNHRC should investigate the human rights violations by sending a fact-finding mission to Balochistan: BHRC

Geneva: 11 March 2020

During the general debate on Item-4 of the 43rd regular session of the United Nations Human Rights Council, the BHRC representative for Western Balochistan, Jamshaid Amiri, informed the council that Pakistani security forces, its clandestine agencies and death squads are committing enforced disappearances and extrajudicial killings in Balochistan on a mass scale.

Jamshaid Amiri drew the council’s attention to a recent case involving the abduction of a Baloch woman Bibi Zargul who was tortured to death in detention on 2nd March ahead of International Women’s Day. He further said that thousands of people including the elderly, women and children have been internally displaced. Many were forced to flee the country and seek asylum in faraway countries.

In addition to that, he told the council that Pakistan is promoting religious extremism in Balochistan to target the Baloch and religious minorities including the Christians and Hindus that runs in parallel with other types of human rights violations. He requested the council that the gravity and widespread scale of violence by Pakistan in constant disregard of the norms, customs and rules demand an equally strong response from this council. The council should investigate the alleged human rights violations by sending a fact-finding mission to Balochistan, and this should be done without delay, concluded Jamshaid.

BHRC submits a memorandum on Balochistan to the UN High commissioner for Human Rights following a protest in Geneva

Geneva: On 12 March 2020, the Baloch Human Rights Council (BHRC) held a protest demonstration near the Broken Chair in Geneva, Switzerland to highlight the human rights abuses facing the people of Balochistan in Pakistan, and to request the United Nations to act against Pakistan which is violating all the human rights instruments it is a signatory of while quelling the Baloch dissent. 

The Secretary-General of the BHRC, Samad Baloch, managed the protest and slammed Pakistan for its inhumane conduct in Balochistan and the region. The protest was joined by human rights defenders from Sindh, Kashmir and Gilgit-Baltistan who like Baloch are also being made subject to extreme suppression by the military establishment of Pakistan in the wake of their struggle for national salvation. Those who spoke at the protest were Jamshaid Amiri, Senge H Sering, Sajjad Raja, Hatim Baloch, Razzak Baloch, Nasir Aziz Khan and Dr Lakhu Luhana.  

All the participant extended their support to the Baloch struggle for the right to self-determination and demanded that Pakistan military must be held accountable for its crimes against humanity, ethnic cleansing, war crimes and genocide in Balochistan. 

Following the protest, a delegation led by Samad Baloch submitted a memorandum entitled – “Balochistan status update on current Human Rights situation” – to the office of the UN High commissioner for Human Rights. 

The memorandum as an urgent humanitarian appeal, requested the High Commissioner’s good office to use its mandate to compel Pakistan to end the violations of human rights in Balochistan, and in the light of the prevailing human rights situation in Balochistan, the memorandum further requested her good office;

  1. To establish a fact-finding mission to monitor and the human rights situation in Balochistan and to investigate the cases of enforced disappearances, extra-judicial murders and forcible displacements.
  2. The perpetrators of the heinous crimes against humanity in Balochistan should be brought to justice by initiating cases against them in the international court of justice in The Hague.
  3. Pakistan must be questioned for the violations of the UN conventions and treaties it is a signatory to and for denying the Baloch people their socio-cultural, economic and political rights.
  4. Those who are responsible for grave violation of human rights in Balochistan constituting crimes against humanity and genocide must be held accountable.

Geneva conference demands Pakistan be enlisted in the “State sponsors of terrorism”

Geneva: The Baloch Human Rights Council (BHRC) convened a conference “State-sponsored religious extremism in Balochistan” to explore the various aspects of the menace of Islamist extremism in Balochistan and its regional and international implications. The conference was chaired by the Secretary-General of the BHRC Samad Baloch while the Informational Secretary of the BHRC, Qambar Malik Baloch provided a detailed presentation on the rapid expansion of Madrassas, and systematic penetration of the Islamist militants in Balochistan under the supervision of the state that is engaged in targeting the Baloch nationalists and minorities including Christians, Hindus, and Shia Hazaras. He believed that the state of Pakistan is making concerted efforts to promote religious extremism in Balochistan with the aim to counter the Baloch national struggle for the right to self-determination and to replace the foundations of a secular and democratic Baloch society with a fundamentalist Islamic social outlook.

Speakers from various backgrounds and with an extensive experience in the area of their work spoke on the subject matter. The speakers included Nicholas Evans, a Fellow in the Department of Anthropology at the London School of Economics. Martin Weightman, the director of the All Faiths Network – a national member body of the UK’s Interfaith Network. Senge H Sering, director of Institute for Gilgit-Baltistan studies in Washington DC, and Sufi Laghari executive director of Sindhi foundation.

It was agreed by the speakers that religious extremism is not a domestic threat instead it concerns the lives of all of us irrespective of our beliefs, ethnicity, geography and backgrounds and its rapid rise demands an equally strong response. This threat they believed needs to be contained which requires concentrated efforts on the international level and Pakistan must be pressurized to abandon its policies that threaten the current global order. The conference believed that this shortsighted policy of the religious state will not only be devastating for the people of Balochistan but it also threatens the current regional order with impacts on international peace and security.

Nadeem Saleem Baloch, a human rights activist from Germany read the conference declaration concluding the conference. In the face of the exponential growth of religious extremism in Balochistan with the complicit support of the religious state of Pakistan, this conference while expressing grave concerns, demanded that:

  1. The state of Pakistan must immediately and unconditionally abandon its policies of sheltering and mushrooming the individuals and organizations designated as “international terrorists” by the United Nations.
  2. Pakistan must terminate its financial, moral and material support to the terrorist organizations including the Lashkar-e-Jhangvi, Lashkar-e-Taiba, ISIS, splinter groups of Taliban and the Pakistani army’s death squads involved in the abduction and extra-judicial murders of Baloch socio-political activists and human rights defenders.
  3. The conference expresses its grave concern over the expansion of over 14 thousand Madrassas in Balochistan and the attacks on schools and universities in Balochistan by the Islamist militants.
  4. The conference demands that Pakistan should be enlisted in the “state sponsors of terrorism” by the state department.
  5. A UN fact-finding mission must be sent to Balochistan to ascertain the extent of the involvement of the state in sponsoring religious terrorism in Balochistan.