Ordeal of Balochistan’s “forcibly disappeared continues

As previously noted in New Pakistan, as of end November 2018,  the Commission of Inquiry on Enforced Disappearances reported that it has yet to solve 2,116 cases of forcible disappearances in Balochistan.

In a statement issued on December 24, the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) stated “unequivocally that it stands in solidarity with the families that had initially camped outside the Quetta Press Club in November until they were forced to move away to the Chief Minister’s House to continue their sit-in, demanding reassurance from the government that they will have recourse to due legal process. HRCP is appalled that what has always been an intolerable situation for the families of the forcibly disappeared, should even have been allowed to reach this point – with women, children and the elderly camped out in large numbers in the open in Quetta’s winter, asking merely that they be heard and their constitutional rights respected. HRCP’s Quetta chapter, council members and vice-chair have attended the sit-in regularly to reinforce the Commission’s clear position on enforced disappearances and its solidarity with the victims’ families.”

While the HRCP welcomed the “government’s promises that it will listen to the protestors’ demands, and is relieved to hear reports that the latter have now returned from the Chief Minister’s House, it strongly urges the state to take the issue of enforced disappearances far more seriously than it is currently doing. Regrettably, the state has done nothing substantial to mitigate the anxiety of victims’ families. Indeed, disallowing civil rights activists from other provinces such as Khyber Pakhtunkhwa to join the camp in solidarity earlier, has only fuelled people’s anxiety and anger. HRCP urges the government yet again to take concrete measures not only to trace and safely recover the forcibly disappeared, but also to ensure that the perpetrators are punished; and to criminalise enforced disappearance and ratify the relevant UN conventions in line with the country’s international obligations and its moral responsibility to Pakistan’s people.”

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