The citizen of every country has a fundamental right to a passport and no one should be deprived of this right simply because the state does not agree or like his / her actions or work. Baseer Naveed, a highly respected human rights defender, has been rendered stateless by the government of Pakistan which has deprived him of his passport, freedom of movement and the right to adopt a nationality of his choice.
In a recent plea the International Human Rights Council, Hong Kong (IHRC-HK) stated concern “about the malicious and unlawful actions of government of Pakistan against its Executive Director, Mr. Abdul Baseer Naveed who has become the Stateless—neither is he citizen of Pakistan nor of Hong Kong, where he has been residing since 2006. The Pakistani government has deprived him of his passport, freedom of Movement and right to adopt nationality of his choice.”
Baseer has been a “permanent resident of Hong Kong since 2013, he applied for naturalization of SAR in 2017 which was approved by department of Immigration of Hong Kong on February 12, 2018 he was asked to provide renunciation of his Pakistani nationality and Passport. Mr. Baseer duly applied for renunciation through Pakistan Consulate in Hong Kong, on February 21, 2018. He received the cancellation of his national identity card from NADRA on 29.06.2018. His renunciation was approved in May 2017 by the Immigration and Passport office of Ministry of Interior, Government of Pakistan. However, in the meantime, some intelligence agencies of Pakistan and Consulate general of Pakistan, Hong Kong submitted adverse reports against him and the same department has cancelled his Renunciation on August 27, 2019, saying “Renunciation Certificate of Pakistan Citizenship cannot be issued as your credentials have not been verified/ recommended by concerned security agency.” Meanwhile Mr. Baseer’s passport expired on August 11, 2019 and as the Consulate of Pakistan has kept his passport, Mr. Baseer was also deprived of his passport. The situation has become precarious for Mr. Baseer who has been rendered stateless which is unethical and illegal as provided by international norms and conventions. He will not be able to go outside Hong Kong nor will he be able to return to Pakistan.”
As an elected member of United Nations Human Rights Commission, Pakistan must abide by its Conventions and Covenants. “The Universal Declaration Human Rights (UDHR) Article 15 of the UDHR provides that “everyone has the right to a nationality” and that “no one shall be arbitrarily deprived of his nationality nor denied the right to change his nationality. citizenship and the right to be free from arbitrary deprivation of citizenship is a human rights requiring all states to respect the human rights of all individuals without distinction. Article 12 of the ICCPR prohibits arbitrarily deprivation of the right to enter his own country. The General Assembly, in its resolution 50/152, also recognized the fundamental nature of the prohibition of arbitrary deprivation of nationality. International conventions require States to introduce safeguards to prevent statelessness caused due to loss or deprivation of nationality.”
In its appeal IHRC-HK said “The government of Pakistan should stop the arbitrative actions against the human rights defenders. The concerned officials must be instructed to immediately issue the renunciation certificate to Mr. Baseer which has been pending before the Pakistani Mission Hong Kong and take action against the concerned officers of Pakistan Mission, Hong Kong for keeping his case in limbo for more than a year and three months. We hope that the issue be amiably resolved without causing any further undue delays and hardship to our Executive Director.”