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Mar-07-2015 19:19printcomments

Pakistan: Lift the Travel Ban Against Abdul Qadeer Baloch

Human Rights Ambassador William Gomes asks to immediately and unconditionally lift the travel ban

Abdul Qadeer Baloch
Abdul Qadeer Baloch is the Vice Chairman of Voice for Baloch Missing Person, an NGO working for the release of persons forcibly disappeared in Balochistan. Photo: W. Gomes

(LONDON) - His Excellency Mamnoon Hussain
President of Pakistan
President's Secretariat
Fax: +92 51 9207458
Email: publicmail@president.gov.pk

Your Excellency,

I am William Nicholas Gomes, Human Rights Ambassador for Salem-News.com.

I would like to draw your attention to the following case. On 4 March 2015, human rights defender Mr Abdul Qadeer Baloch, also known as Mama Qadeer, was informed of a travel ban imposed against him.

The human rights defender was attempting to travel to a human rights seminar in the United States with other relatives of persons forcibly disappeared in Balochistan.

Abdul Qadeer Baloch is the Vice Chairman of Voice for Baloch Missing Person (VBMP), a non-governmental organisation (NGO) working for the release of persons forcibly disappeared in Balochistan, and assisting families of the disappeared to seek justice in the courts.

The NGO claims that over 21,000 persons have been the victim of enforced disappearances in the region since 2005. The human rights defender, whose son was forcibly disappeared in 2009, led a peaceful march for a distance of over 2000km, from Quetta to Islamabad, to raise awareness concerning enforced disappearances in Balochistan.

The march, which lasted four months, ended on 28 February 2014. The human rights defender and his colleagues were prevented from boarding their flight when they arrived at the Jinnah International Airport in Karachi.

They were detained for approximately three hours and informed that their names had been placed on the Exit Control List (ECL), reportedly as a result of their allegedly anti-Pakistan activities. Abdul Qadeer Baloch was travelling in order to attend a seminar on 7 March 2015, organised by the World Sindhi Congress, on human rights violations in Sindh and Balochistan.

I express my concern at the travel ban against Abdul Qadeer Baloch, which I believe solely results from his peaceful and legitimate human rights activities to combat impunity for enforced disappearances.

I urge the authorities in Pakistan to:

  1. Immediately and unconditionally lift the travel ban against Abdul Qadeer Baloch, as Front Line Defenders believes that it has been imposed solely as a result of his legitimate and peaceful work in the defence of human rights;
  2. Guarantee in all circumstances that all human rights defenders in Pakistan, in particular those working to combat enforced disappearances, are able to carry out their legitimate human rights activities without fear of reprisals and free of all restrictions.

William Nicholas Gomes
Human Rights Ambassador for Salem-News.com, UK
Twitter: @Wnicholasgomes

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