The Irish Minister for Foreign Affairs, Michael Martin, has addressed serious concerns in written form raised by Paul Murphy, Teachta Dála (TD) for the Dublin South-West constituency, regarding Pakistan’s alleged war crimes in Balochistan.
In a written inquiry addressed during a Human Rights debate at the Dáil Éireann on Tuesday, 30 January 2024, Deputy Paul Murphy highlighted the pressing issue of ongoing war crimes in “occupied” Balochistan. He specifically cited the enforced disappearances of thousands of Baloch activists, including lawyers, doctors, professors, and students, since the year 2000. Murphy’s inquiry sought clarity on whether Ireland would take a stand against Pakistan’s actions and consider avenues such as sanctions to halt these abuses.
In response, Minister Martin acknowledged the complex unrest in Balochistan, characterized by violent insurgencies and ethnic conflicts. He emphasized Ireland’s ongoing engagement with Pakistan, stating, “Our discussions with the Pakistani government have been thorough, covering a wide range of political and human rights issues,” referencing recent bilateral talks in Islamabad.
The Minister clarified Ireland’s position on sanctions, noting that while Ireland does not impose unilateral sanctions, it actively implements UN and EU sanctions as part of an integrated policy approach. He assured continued efforts to raise human rights concerns with Pakistan, both bilaterally and in multilateral forums. Moreover, the Minister expressed concern over the recent increase in regional tensions, including Iranian and Pakistani airstrikes in Balochistan, which could further destabilize the region.
Furthermore, Minister Martin highlighted Ireland’s broader commitment to human rights, integral to its foreign policy. He detailed Ireland’s constructive engagement at the UN Human Rights Council, advocating for Pakistan to amend its blasphemy legislation and establish an independent inquiry into enforced disappearances. These recommendations aim to address discrimination and ensure accountability for human rights violations.
The Minister also mentioned that the Embassy of Ireland in Türkiye, accredited to Pakistan, continues to monitor the situation in Pakistan closely, in close consultation with the EU Delegation in Islamabad, pending the opening of an Embassy of Ireland in Islamabad later this year.