UNHCHR: Send fact-finding mission to Balochistan to investigate atrocities
International Criminal Court: Issue arrest warrants for Pakistani leaders
Balochistan conflict is causing huge damage to Pakistan’s reputation
12 March 2012
Speaking at the UN in Geneva, British human rights campaigner Peter Tatchell has “condemned Pakistan’s intensified repression in Balochistan, urged the UN to send a fact-finding mission, called on the International Criminal Court to issue arrest warrants for Pakistani leaders and outlined proposals for military de-escalation and a negotiated political settlement in Balochistan.”
Mr Tatchell was addressing a panel being held in parallel with the 19th session of the UN Human Rights Council. He spoke alongside the Pakistani author Tarek Fatah and the Baloch nationalists and human rights defenders, Mehran Baluch and Noordin Mengal, on Thursday 8 March.
He outlined a six-point programme to deescalate the military conflict and secure a negotiated political settlement in Balochistan:
- Ceasefire and the cessation of all military operations, withdrawal of Pakistani troops and paramilitaries to barracks and a halt to the construction of new military bases and outposts – with independent monitoring and supervision by UN observers and peace-keepers.
- Release of all political prisoners and a full account of the fate of all disappeared persons.
- Open access to all parts of Balochistan for journalists, aid agencies and human rights organisations.
- Right of return of displaced refugees, restoration of their property and compensation for losses caused by the conflict.
- End inward colonisation of Balochistan by non-Baloch settlers.
- UN-supervised referendum on self-determination, including the option of independence.
Mr Tatchell stressed that these are proposals for consideration and debate; with any final decisions being a matter for the people of Balochistan.
“Pakistan is guilty of gross human rights abuses in annexed and occupied Balochistan,” he added.
“These abuses, which include torture and extra-judicial killings, amount to crimes against humanity and are illegal under international law.
“The International Criminal Court must issue arrest warrants for Pakistani political and military leaders who are implicated in war crimes and crimes against humanity.
“The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navi Pillay, should head a UN fact-finding mission to Balochistan to investigate human rights abuses,” he said.
Mr Tatchell also made the following additional observations regarding human rights abuses in Balochistan:
“The disappearances and extra-judicial killings of Baloch activists continue unabated, despite claims from the Pakistani government and security forces that they have ended.
“In the last two years, these disappearances and killings have intensified. A new death squad, Tehreek-e-Nefaz-e-Aman Balochistan (TNAB) has emerged, apparently with the connivance or license of the Pakistani security services.
“According to the Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC), in January this year alone 23 bullet-riddled bodies were discovered in Balochistan, with six of these killings being claimed the TNAB.
“From August 2011 to January 2012, 56 Baloch people are known to have been murdered and dumped on roadsides.
“The total number of extra-judicial killings since July 2010 is at least 271, reports the AHRC.
See this AHRC report:
“The escalating human rights abuses in Balochistan are corroborated by the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan, Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch.
“It is in the interest of the people of Pakistan for there to be a military ceasefire and a negotiated political settlement. Human rights abuses in Balochistan are causing huge damage to Pakistan’s international reputation.
“The military occupation of Balochistan is costing Pakistan millions. It is a financial burden and drain on the Pakistani economy.
“The money spent of military garrisons and operations would be better spent on health and education for the people of Pakistan.
“Finally, one thing is certain: Like all people everywhere, the people of Balochistan have a right to self-determination. Self-determination is enshrined in the UN Charter.
“Pakistan can delay Balochistan’s right to self-determination – at great financial, moral, political and reputational cost – but the freedom of Balochistan cannot be denied forever,” said Mr Tatchell.