Friday, March 31, 2017

Balochistan: Military Operations and Enforced Disappearances

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by Claudia Waedlichon 31 Mar 20173 Comments

The United Nations offers different mechanisms against the Enforced Disappearance of people, but not all of them lead to efficient results. For example, because of the need of ratification on the International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance (CPED) - a legally binding Convention for States - it is ineffectual in the case of the state of Pakistan.

 

Although, Pakistan was recommended to ratify it, there are well-known reasons why this has not yet happened - the Convention obliged states to fight against Enforced Disappearances. Compliance with the Convention is monitored by the Committee against Disappearance and the Committee and a Working Group operate closely together. This Body could be effective, but at present, there is no possibility of implementing it.

 

The Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances, founded in 1980 and comprising five independent experts belonging to five world religions, is searching for those ‘disappeared’, and at the same time, fighting against the crime. They are helping relatives to find out where their loved ones are and will continue until these people’s destinies are discovered.

 

The Pak Army has killed tens of thousands of Baloch civilians during military offensives and abducted more than 30,000 Baloch freedom-seeking activists, among whom are 400 Baloch women and children. Tens of thousands of Baloch families have been forced to migrate from Balochistan.

 

The numbers involved seem unbelievable, but lists of all these disappeared people can be handed over to the UN Working Group.

 

The Security Council of the UN in New York only can act through the member governments of the USA and India, risking the veto of China or Russia. My NGO, Balochistan project, just registered in the USA, will contact the government of President Donald Trump as well as representatives of Congress to whom we have access. They can determine whatever Peace-keeping operations can and should be imposed, such as giving access to journalists and Human Rights Organisations in the closed area of Balochistan.

 

The United Nations Office on Genocide Prevention and the responsibility to protect people is a preventative Body for raising awareness. The Special Advisor on the Prevention of Genocide is mandated to liaise with the UN system on activities for the prevention of genocide.

 

In line with their mandate to enhance capacity, the Special Advisors support national, regional and global networks of national focal points on genocide and atrocity prevention.  The proof of the ISI and Pakistan Army’s systematic genocide of the Baloch people, their plan to change the demography of Balochistan by settling Punjabis and Chinese, thereby advantaging the CPEC project, enables this tool to be utilised for the sake of the Baloch.

 

There is also the Counter Terrorism Implementation Task Force (CTITF), the United Nations Action to Counter Terrorism. The General Assembly has endorsed Counter-Terrorism Implementation. The Task Force, consisting of 38 entities of the UN and affiliated organisations, is also to be addressed in the War on Terror, the important Subcommittee against Terrorism of the US Congress. Representative Ted Poe is the President and already active on the bill to declare Pakistan a terror state.

 

In this case, we can address the Trump Government and take action against the Pakistan Army and Inter Services Intelligence. ISI has already been accused of sponsoring terror by the US government and the CTITF should not accept any propaganda attempts from Islamabad, which declares everyone opposing CPEC a terrorist. Even being against the suppression of opposition is enough to be declared a terrorist.

 

Often, one feels that governments are too naïve in believing the disinformation by such a regime, which uses this rhetoric as a successful tactic to prevent investigation and to silence protest.

 

The International Court of Justice is an instrument of dual Jurisdiction. It judges according international law and advises states to impose its decisions.

 

There could be opportunities to accuse the Pakistan Army and ISI of crimes against the Baloch with a much-needed database of all the enforced disappeared Baloch, addressing the different bodies of the UN.

 

In June 2010, Pakistan ratified the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights as well as the Convention against Torture. The various UN bodies listed can be consulted on these Baloch cases.

 

The jurisprudence, once again strengthened with the end of the military rule in Pakistan, has not yet been able to ensure a better judicial protection of human rights in Pakistan; even when the Supreme Court deals specifically with particularly ‘public’ cases of human rights violations. As an example - the disappearance of persons in the context of the so-called insurrection in Balochistan and tribal areas. An insurrection that has increased since last year because of the ‘protection’ measures of planned CPEC projects at the cost of the Baloch population and human rights.

 

Instead of corruption and unimplemented laws, the UN Bodies addressed can begin to work on the cases presented.

 

I appeal to them to take action. I also appeal to the Baloch to keep collecting evidence to present to the Court of Justice and the United Nations Office on Genocide Prevention plus the Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances. All these bodies must help raise awareness of the brutal injustice happening in Balochistan, Sindh, Pashtun and Kashmir regions and to counter the human rights violations being forced on them. And to counter terrorism spread by the Pakistan Army and ISI through propaganda and disinformation to the US and the World Community. This atrocities must attract the attention of Big Media via these UN bodies.

 

Based on the speech delivered at the side events of the 34th session of the United Nations Human Rights Commission at Geneva on March 13-14, 2017 

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