Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Enforced Disappearance in South Asia

http://www.vijayvaani.com/ArticleDisplay.aspx?aid=4446

Claudia Waedlich

28 September 2017

 

Seeking UN Bodies Intervention for the safe recovery of missing persons in Pakistan

 

My last speech was about different UN Bodies and Conventions petitioning for their intervention to aid the safe recovery of missing persons in Pakistan; today I am here to update and clarify what concrete results we have achieved towards our goals along with issues that have yet to be resolved.

 

The Pakistan Government should affirm its commitment to end enforced disappearances by ratifying the International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearances; referring specifically to the Baloch, Pashtun, Sindhi and Kashmiri of Occupied Kashmir.

 

Their unwillingness to ratify the convention and the increasing number of years they stall compliance, facilitate the Pakistan government in presenting erroneous and underestimated figures of enforced, disappeared Balochs to different human rights organizations, which may or may not be acknowledged by Supreme Court. These small numbers cannot be the whole truth, especially considering the statement of the Spokesman of the puppet regime in Quetta at the European Institute for Asian Studies: “We have a right to lie!”

 

An enforced disappearance removes an individual from the protection of law. It violates many of the rights guaranteed under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which Pakistan signed and ratified in 2010. These enforced disappearances are a grave violation of the International Human Rights Law.

 

The weakness underlying these UN Covenants is the condition that states must sign and ratify it. No suppressive nation is willing to do that, take China as an example.

 

Pakistan is not seriously interested in stopping these Enforced Disappearances. On the contrary! The installation of the  China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) shows increasing military operations especially in Kohlu, the Marri tribe area, Dera Bugti, the Bugti tribe area and many, many other areas within 50 miles of either side of the planned CPEC. Villages in this zone are raided, razed and the inhabitants abducted, killed or ‘disappeared’.

 

In Balochistan, Pashtun areas, Sindh and in POK too, Pakistani forces, in co-operation with certain terror groups, have forcibly disappeared, tortured and unlawfully killed people in the name of counter-terrorism and under the US banner of the ‘War on Terror’.

 

Additionally, they carry out the security measures China demands in return for installing CPEC, alongside Chinese security forces who are also involved.

 

Pakistan bears full responsibility for the abuses against ‘suspected’ protestors. Every person who dares to speak out or is suspected or accused of speaking against the CPEC falls under the ‘terrorism’ law, according to Minister for Interior, Planning, Development and Reforms, Ahsan Iqbal Chaudhary.

 

These increasingly large and disturbing numbers of disappearances cannot be explained away, or their significance minimised, as attrition in the fight to end terrorism. It is injustice and murder; a silent genocide on Baloch people.

 

The hope was to compile a database of missing people; however, many obstacles have arisen to confound this hope, one of which has been, through several sources, confirmed to me that the families and relatives of the disappeared fear the same fate by getting involved. In these circumstances, we find we cannot move forward in our efforts to help these unhappy people in the state of Balochistan.

 

My point now is to underline the Pakistan regime is not entitled to operate in the still existing State of Balochistan. Their presence there is a hostile act towards the Baloch inhabitants and their natural rights. Therefore, I recommend to institute, as soon as possible, a ‘Government in Exile’ of the Baloch to demand aid from the International Community, especially powerful States. Many states will acknowledge your interest and concerns against CPEC. If you will strengthen and promote your fears on this issue, at a legal international level, then you can act professionally.

 

I want to make the Balochs aware of how important a speedy institution of ‘government in exile’ is, in the struggle to claim the rights under International Law they already hold in theory; one of which would be the right as an acknowledged state to sign and ratify the Covenant of Enforced Disappearance.

 

Unity among Balochs in this proposed government structure is very important. I ask you please to focus the goal you seek to achieve, to move forward in your issue, and do not allow personal interests to obstruct its progress, as has been the truth of the matter during the whole of recent years. The disagreements have acted like poison, causing you to lose sight and focus of your goal and counter-productive.

 

The ‘government in exile’ should act only on those issues which work towards the goal of independence, the strategy against CPEC and the fate of Enforced Disappearances. Nothing else. The issues are of equal importance when deciding who will take over these duties in this government. Decisions cannot rest on personal interests or local grievances but, rather, the national, common aim should be decisive, the goals you want to achieve.

 

I appeal again for you not to discuss or raise personal or local concerns in a conference deciding on the structure of the Government in Exile. The time and place for these concerns is after achieving the overwhelmingly important goals already set out. The issues can be raised at a later date, when independence is achieved, at the parliamentary level or other platforms. It is of supreme importance and urgency that your independence claim is moved to a legal, international level and not only in diverse conferences here and there.

 

You must act to build a stable, united and well-structured government in order to gain international recognition and acknowledgement which will enable you to win help and aid from UN bodies and governments and achieve results. The International Court of Justice is another way for your Government in Exile to succeed as an acknowledged State against the actions of Pakistan. Balochistan can become member of the United Nations.

 

I see no other way to escape the lethargy and impotence incurred by this circle of continually arguing the same questions the whole time.

 

The UN Working Groups on Enforced Disappearance in its 2012 report on Pakistan found that the country’s counter-terrorism laws, in particular, the Antiterrorism Act 1997, and the FATA/PATA Action / in aid of civil powers/ Regulation 2011, allowed arbitrary deprivation of liberty, which has enabled Enforced Disappearances.

 

The Government of Pakistan still resists, and will continue to resist, all recommendations and suggestions that organizations such as the ICJ (International Commission of Jurists) or Human Rights Watch has presented to them, in detail, to prosecute the responsible officials for ordering, participating or carrying out Enforced Disappearances.

 

The laws of Pakistan are not recognised in Balochistan!

China has no right to operate the illegal CPEC treaty in Balochistan!

China neither signed nor ratified the Covenant of Enforced Disappearance as mentioned above.

They are not entitled to conclude an illegal CPEC treaty with Islamabad.

According to legal status, only Balochs have the right to negotiate with China.

 

China`s security wishes, carried out by the Pak Army, their proxies, and Security forces from China by means of the ethnic cleansing of the Balochs, is a hostile act. It will empower the Government in Exile with the right to interfere and to demand aid from the International Community. Without a legally acknowledged and recognised instrument as Government in Exile, we will not achieve any goals - as evident from the past years.

 

I appeal to the Balochs to take quick action in building a government in exile; to come together in a Conference for this aim; to debate only acknowledgement by other states; to demand, as soon as practically possible, whole recognised rights of UN Bodies, the International Community and mighty powers and seek, in the correct form, their help.

 

The first step could be implementation of the UN in Balochistan under the watch of all major States. The second, to collect all the details of cases of the Disappeared, without fear by the families and relatives of the poor victims.

 

We cannot secure or aid the Baloch victims of Enforced Disappearance at this time, only take action with several UN Bodies. Before quarrelling, unite and think about all these lost souls. It is up to you, dear Balochs, to move forward in your aim to rid Balochistan of Pakistan through your own Government in Exile.

 

How many more people will disappear whilst we argue and debate? It is imperative that we act now. I appeal to your sense of collective responsibility. Let us act now, together, united as one people, with one aim!

 

Based on the speech delivered at the side event of Baloch Voice Association and Solidarity Suisse-Guinee on 19 September 2017, at the UN in Geneva, Switzerland

http://www.vijayvaani.com/ArticleDisplay.aspx?aid=4446

 

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