Geneva: Human Rights Council meeting, concerns over forced disappearances

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Under the Universal Periodic Review process at the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva, the member states called on Pakistan to stop enforced disappearances and other human rights abuses and demanded the protection of people.

On this occasion, the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Pakistan presented the report of Pakistan.

Today was Pakistan’s fourth review, having previously been reviewed under this process in 2008, 2012, and 2017.

In today’s meeting, Germany, Netherlands, Brazil, Paraguay, India, and other member states recommended Pakistan ratify the Convention for the Protection of Enforcedly Disappeared persons and resolve the issue of custodial killings.

The European country Italy recommended ending enforced disappearances, ratifying the EDK Convention, and holding those involved accountable.

While the United States and the United Kingdom demanded democratic policies from Pakistan, they expressed concern over the killing of minority groups, and religious minorities, especially Ahmadis.

Abdullah Abbas, the spokesperson of HRCB, an organization working on human rights in Balochistan, told The Balochistan Post today regarding the Geneva meeting that his organization has submitted 10 different detailed reports which include the human rights violations in Balochistan for the last four years and the conventions and commitments recognized by Pakistan in 2007 but again violated by Pakistan.

In its submitted report, the HRCB informed the member states of the Bill on Enforced Disappearances that it is not yet part of the law, and the families of the missing persons can be sued for submitting the cases.

HRCB collected and submitted the complete list and details of 2725 enforced disappearances and 973 extrajudicial killings from January 2018 to March 2022.

A report has been gathered regarding the fact that in the last meeting, Pakistan had promised to punish those involved in enforced disappearances, but false cases and fake allegations were made by handing over the recovered missing persons to the police.

In addition to the detailed report on killings in fake encounters of missing persons, Pakistan had assured in the previous meeting that children and women would not be harmed during the operations, contrary to the assurances, women, and children were killed during the operations in Balochistan. HRCB has also submitted a report in this regard.

A report was also submitted regarding the harassment and disappearance of families and relatives of Baloch activists.

Apart from this, in the previous meeting, Pakistan had committed to taking action against the people involved in ‘victimization and violent treatment of Missing persons’, but a list of 1713 people was collected where people involved in disappearances were not punished and held accountable.

According to the HRCB, Pakistan had assured a fair and transparent trial of the prisoners, which has not been implemented.  All the evidence of Rashid Hussain and Abdul Hafeez Zehri case has been collected still Pakistan has not given them a chance to trial. While Rashid Hussain is still missing.

“A report has been submitted on militarization and army occupation of educational institutions and hospitals in Balochistan, including the profiling of Baloch students.

Abdullah Abbas said that we hope that the member states and the United Nations will hold Pakistan accountable for these reports.  As a human rights organization, we have presented them with facts related to Balochistan.

Abdullah Abbas said that now it will be seen what will be the reaction of Pakistan after which we will submit another report.

It should be noted that the Universal Periodic Review was established in 2007, which is an important mechanism of the Human Rights Council under which the human rights record of all the member states of the United Nations is reviewed every four to five years.

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