UN should take steps to protect the lives of Baloch refugees in Afghanistan. Khalil Baloch

Baloch National Movement Urges UN to Protect Baloch Refugees in Afghanistan:

Under the 1951 Refugee Convention, the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) and other parties or host countries are bound to provide protection to any person who seeks refuge from persecution. Under this proposed international law, no refugee should be sent to a country where his life and his freedoms are in grave danger.

The UNHCR portrays itself as a “Guardian” of the 1951 Convention and its 1967 Protocol, but in the case of Baloch refugees no practical steps are being taken for those who were persecuted in Pakistan and had to migrate due to Pakistani atrocities. Many of them managed to reach the neighbouring country, Afghanistan, after great difficulties. Whereas in Afghanistan the UNHCR has arranged a tedious and difficult procedure for Baloch refugees who are asked to apply to their Kabul offices, despite the UNHCR having offices in other parts of Afghanistan. On the other hand, the uncertainty in Afghanistan itself has created an environment of fear and the policies of international organizations of asking the Baloch refugees to risk their lives and travel to Kabul are tantamount to letting them being killed.

Afghanistan is currently in a crisis. While the US withdrawal has created vast opportunities for the Afghan nation, there are also signs of anarchy and a crisis. We share a common sense of sorrows and joy as neighbours, well-wisher, and long-lasting friends. History has shown that both nations have helped and stood for each other in difficult times.

Afghanistan and Balochistan are linked by geographical and historical ties. Whenever difficult times befell the Afghan nation, Balochistan became their second home and when the Baloch nation faced difficult situations, the Afghan nation opened its doors to us and welcomed the refugees for years.

The Pakistani barbarism of the last two decades has forced millions of Baloch to migrate, many of whom live in different parts of Afghanistan, where they are in a very difficult situation. They do not have access to internationally recognized legal rights and facilities.

In Afghanistan, Pakistan’s ISI has killed several Baloch refugees through its agents. At present, Baloch refugees do not have the support of any international organization, including UNHCR. Afghanistan cannot give state protection to anyone because of its internal situation and instability. In this context, we believe that the UNHCR and other international agencies should provide protection and facilities for Baloch refugees.

In the current state of uncertainty in Afghanistan, Baloch refugees are in a very precarious situation. If the Baloch refugees are left at the mercy of circumstances, then the tragedy facing the Baloch nation in Balochistan could also happen in Afghanistan. A clear example of this is the killing of many Baloch refugees in Afghanistan by Pakistan.

It is the primary duty of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) to accept the Balochs as war refugees and initiate their registration, including asking its member countries to provide Baloch refugees protection. The Baloch National Movement is ready to provide them with all possible assistance in this process.

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