UN mission arrives to investigate disappearances

By AFP
Published: September 10, 2012
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Human rights groups estimate thousands of people have been kidnapped and detained in secret prisons in past decade.

Human rights groups estimate thousands of people have been kidnapped and detained in secret prisons in past decade.

ISLAMABAD: A UN delegation has arrived in Pakistan on a 10-day mission to investigate cases of “enforced disappearances” plaguing the country at the invitation of the government, a spokeswoman said on Monday.

International and Pakistani human rights groups estimate thousands of people have been kidnapped and detained in secret prisons in the past decade, allegedly by security forces.

The Supreme Court is already investigating cases of missing people in the southwestern province of Balochistan, where the military has been accused of rights violations in its bid to put down a separatist insurgency.

“The United Nations Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances has arrived in Pakistan at the invitation of the government,” UN spokeswoman Ishrat Rizvi told AFP.

She said the high-level delegation led by Olivier de Frouville arrived on Sunday and will stay in Pakistan until September 20.

“The UN experts will gather information on cases of enforced disappearances,” the UN said in an earlier statement.

They will also study the “measures adopted by the state to prevent and eradicate enforced disappearances, including issues related to truth, justice and reparation for the victims of enforced disappearances”.

The Supreme Court’s investigation of the missing in Balochistan is the latest effort aimed at bringing the powerful military and intelligence agencies to book over mass arrests of alleged terror suspects, many of whom are never seen again.

Rights activists have accused the military of mass arrests and extrajudicial executions in its bid to quell a separatist insurgency that erupted in 2004 in Balochistan.

In February, seven men allegedly held by intelligence services appeared before the Supreme Court in Islamabad, more than a year and a half after being detained in connection with terror attacks.

It was an unprecedented development that challenged perceptions that the feared Inter-Services Intelligence agency operates above the law.

“The visit of the group will provide an opportunity to highlight the efforts being undertaken by the government to address this important issue and to further improve the relevant procedures”, the foreign ministry said in a statement.

The mission will meet members of the civil society, media, jurists and officials from the foreign and interior ministries to prepare their report.

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Reader Comments (11)

  • Awans
    Sep 10, 2012 - 4:46PM

    I am pretty sure they will never visit Indian Occupied Kashmir ( IOK ) or American Administered Afghanistan ( AAA ) or another Human rights Champion Israel where thousands gone missing in the past and still it is the same story. Even they will not dare to Visit China or Russia where If you dare to speak against Government then the next day you are gone. Why these Orgs are silent on Indian Laws like POTA which is responsible for hundreds of detainees in Kashmir and in Assam without charges. Why there is silence on thousands of Palestinians missing and now roting away in Isreali jaisl.

    So much for the hypocrisy of these Human right Champions. Pakistan should stop ceding to every demand of these Human right champions as the only dissappearances they see is in the Turkish Kurdish Regions , In Iran or In Pakistan and it seems other than that all is fine and well with this world.

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  • Sep 10, 2012 - 5:02PM

    A good step in right direction and on right time.

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  • Abbas Ahmad
    Sep 10, 2012 - 6:48PM

    @Awans

    Just because UN doesn’t send teams to Kashmir, Palestine, Afghanistan or other places doesn’t justify the cries to stop UN delegation from visiting Balochistan. UN should also send teams to above mentioned areas and they have an equal right to air their views about oppression and persecution. Criticizing the arrival of UN delegation, which is a positive act about Balochistan in years, reflects the mentality which has resulted in Balochistan on the verge of collapse.

    Balochistan is facing Tyranny since 1948, there have been 5 military operations and thousands have been killed. In the ongoing Baloch resistance movement around 12ooo people have been forcefully abducted by state forces. Since June 2010 around 600 people have been killed and dumped, thousands in torture cells awaiting their turn to be killed and dumped. extreme torture inflicted upon them and they will be relieved once killed and dumped. A lot of water has passed beneath the bridges…..

    Hopefully UN delegation will be allowed to visit the affected areas of Balochistan so that they can know the true story and its intensity.Recommend

  • salman ahmad
    Sep 10, 2012 - 6:55PM

    boots on ground ????? or a step in that direction ….

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  • Live for Pakistan
    Sep 10, 2012 - 8:47PM

    This is the first step towards dismemberment of Pakistan. Judiciary and media must take the blame for the hype which they created in support of the terrorists and secessionists and are spear heading the case against Pakistan.

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  • waheed jan baloch
    Sep 10, 2012 - 8:52PM

    well come to (UN) in balochistan

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  • ashok
    Sep 10, 2012 - 9:13PM

    Start form the disappearance of Minorities (Hindus mainly) who were around 20% in 1947 have been reduced to 1.6% in 2001 census. You can count Hindus in Punjab, K-P, AJK and G-B on fingers in three figures.

    Whatever happened to those peaceful Hindus after the creation of Pakistan in 1947. If you can find them, you will have answer to other disappeared sections of the crowd.

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  • afridi
    Sep 10, 2012 - 9:17PM

    how the effecties contact to this mission. kindly provide email or contact no to contact them. plzzzzzz

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  • Cautious
    Sep 10, 2012 - 9:30PM

    @Awans. I guess you missed the part where it indicates that the UN is investigating at the bequest of your govt. Better to read before you rant.

    “The United Nations Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances has arrived in Pakistan at the invitation of the government,”

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  • Mirza
    Sep 11, 2012 - 1:10AM

    For those who are upset at the UN team’s arrival they should ask a simple question. Would the UN team be here if Pakistani Govt and agencies had controlled the ongoing killings? How long should the civilized world wait before they wake up? There is a war and ethnic cleansing going on in Baluchistan and if Pakistani forces cannot stop it then one day the UN troops would. It is just like the FATA situation and drone attacks. If Pakistan cannot control the safe havens of terrorists then the NATO would. Pakistanis cannot continue to deny the presence of terrorists and killers supported by the deep state. OBL Commission Report can be suppressed but the facts cannot. Whether one accepts it or not there is Bosnia like situation in Baluchistan and we have failed to protect the civilians.

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  • varuag
    Sep 11, 2012 - 6:31AM

    @Awans:
    POTA is no longer on the books and the problematic law is called AFSPA, a relic of the bygone era. While POTA was draconian, so is AFSPA and there are very valid objections against the law. Its total repeal may be a pipe-dream but at-least its reform needs to be carried out urgently.

    And yes, they probably should visit all troubled spots but then again international relations rarely involve parity and some nations always get away with the worst of human rights abuses.Recommend

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