Oral Statement Interactive Dialogue with the Working Group on Enforced Disappearances 51st Session Human Rights Council, 20 September 2022 Agenda Item 3 Promotion and protection of human rights, civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights, including the right to development
Prepared and Submitted on 18 September 2022 by the Islamic Human Rights Commission (UK)
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Speaker: Jawad Husain
IHRC wishes to highlight the continuing practice of enforced disappearances in Pakistan, carried out by the country’s security agencies.
As of August 20, 2022 over 8700 people were registered as disappeared with Pakistan’s Commission of Inquiry on Enforced Disappearances, in other words, abducted with their detention and whereabouts unacknowledged and thereby removed from the protection of the law.
The real number is believed to be much higher owing to underreporting of disappearances due to the lack of faith in authorities to investigate them and bring the perpetrators to justice. The UN Working Group on Enforced Disappearance has described a “culture of entrenched impunity” regarding the practice.
The disappearances are an extra-legal instrument used by the state to combat political opposition, be it peaceful or violent, across all the provinces of Pakistan. However even people with no history of political activity have been disappeared because they are innocently acquainted with opposition figures or related to them. Those abducted are routinely subject to torture and degrading treatment and in many cases killed.
According to Voice for Baloch Missing Persons (VBMP), a human rights organisation, more than 6,000 people are still missing from Balochistan. Between 2009-2020, 1,400 people who were abducted by security forces were found dead, their bodies riddled with bullets and drill holes, or bearing signs of torture and mutilation.
It speaks volumes about Pakistan’s attitude to the practice that it has still not criminalised enforced disappearances nor ratified the UN convention against it.
The international community must pressurise Pakistan to end the practice and bring those responsible to justice.