ICHR is extremely saddened and horrified by the Shocking news of Baloch human rights activist, Karima Baloch’s death. We strongly urge the government of Canada to launch a through and transparence investigation to identify the reasons death as well as the responsibility individual.
Prominent Baloch activist Karima Baloch was found dead in unexplained circumstances in the Canadian city of Toronto on Monday, a day after she was reported missing by the local police.
Baloch was a vocal critic of the Pakistani government and had actively worked to highlight human rights violations perpetrated upon people in Balochistan.
In 2016, BBC had included Baloch in their ‘BBC 100 Women 2016’ list for her work involving “campaigns for independence for Balochistan from Pakistan.” She had used her social media profile to highlight abductions, torture, forced disappearances and other human rights violations that people in Balochistan were being subjected to by the Pakistan government and the army.
She was seen as a pioneer of women’s activism in Balochistan and had raised the issue of Balochistan in UN sessions in Switzerland. In 2014, she became the first woman chairperson of BSO-Azad, which has been proscribed by the Pakistan government as a terror group.
In her activism, she had placed emphasis on fighting for the rights of Balochi women, and had highlighted how the legal system and religious groups in Pakistan would use state and social machinery to intentionally target women, particularly from vulnerable groups.
In her last tweet on December 14, she had shared a news report by The Guardian titled ‘Kidnap, torture, murder: the plight of Pakistan’s thousands of disappeared’.
This isn’t an isolated occurrence. Earlier this year in March, Sajid Hussain, founder and chief editor of The Balochistan Post, who had consistently highlighted human rights violations that Baloch people were being subjected to, was found dead in the Fyris River near Uppsala, Sweden. He had been missing for days before his body was found.
Hussain had fled Pakistan in 2017 and had sought political asylum in Sweden after he had been subjected to death threats, police raids, interrogation and other harassment for his work.
Her sudden and mysterious disappearance and death has raised serious alarming concerns that could have been organised by Pakistani intelligence agencies because of her work as a pioneer of women’s activism in Balochistan which had raised the issue of human rights violations in Balochistan.
ICHR, The death of Prominent Baloch activist Karima Baloch must be immediately and effectively investigated. The perpetrators must be held accountable to brought to justice, and the UN united with EU state members must take serious actions to end the human rights violations & the targeted killings & attacks on Baloch nation by Pakistani agencies.