Jun 26, 2023

UNPO in close collaboration with Baloch Students Organisation submits Report to the UN on the ongoing human rights violations of Baluch people in Pakistan

The Unrepresented Nations and Peoples Organization (UNPO) in close collaboration with the Baloch Students Organisation, has submitted a report to the attention of the United Nations Special Rapporteurs bringing its attention to the ongoing rights violations suffered by the Baluch people in Pakistan.

The report particularly focus on  the exploitation and suppression imposed on Pakistan’s minority and indigenous communities, particularly the Baluch People, as a result of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) agreement. 

The CPEC project, which aims to establish a network of transportation and energy infrastructure connecting Gwadar port in southwestern Pakistan to China's northwestern region of Xinjiang, has already received widespread criticism, particularly concerning CPEC’s negative consequences for the indigenous peoples and minorities in both China and Pakistan whose lands intersect with the CPEC projects. 

The information compilled within the report has been compiled by the Baloch Students Organisation and aims to provide relevant and up-to-date information, compiled by community representatives directly impacted by CPEC, while also highlighting the Pakistan and Peoples Republic of China (PRC) governments repression and neglect of the Baloch community, and general failure to involve local communities in the decision-making process surrounding the development project. 

CPEC and the Gwadar Port Developments 

The China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) is a multi-billion-dollar infrastructure and development project that aims to connect China's northwestern region of Xinjiang to 

Pakistan's southwestern port city of Gwadar, through a network of highways, railways, and pipelines. The project is a crucial component of China's Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), which seeks to expand China's influence globally by investing in infrastructure and development projects in partner countries. 

The Gwadar Port, located in Balochistan province, is a key component of the CPEC project and has been developed with Chinese investment. The Baloch people, a historically oppressed minority in the Southern-western province of Pakistan who have long suffered from gross human rights violations by Pakistani security forces, find the expansion of the Gwadar Port within the CPEC development particularly unsettling. CPEC's presence in this already volatile context places an additional burden on the region, further marginalizing the Baloch people from the decision-making process about the fate of their homeland and depriving them of institutional mechanisms to address their grievances. 

Impacts on the Baluch People 

Recent development in the projects in Gwadar and the wider CPEC project raise major concerns over their impact on the Balochi people, particularly regarding land grabbing, displacement of local communities, the environment, and militarisation of land. The attached report, titled ‘The Impact of CPEC on the people of Baluchistan’ details the perverse effects of the CPEC development project including: 

  • Lack of consultation and participation from local communities
  • Illegal land grabbing from the Pakistani Government, including the lack of proper compensation and prior consent to seize land from households. 
  • Displacement of local populations, in order to create makeshift habitation for workers at the Port. 
  • The overall militarization of the land, creating a dangerous and violent cycle of violence 
  • The creation of unsanitary water conditions, particularly in Gwardar port area, where the sewage system is affected by the development 
  • Overall adverse effects on the environment, including air pollution and unsustainable building practices 

These reports of forced evictions and displacement of communities, as well as concerns about the negative impact on the environment and cultural heritage sites are also accompanied with a series of human rights violations. Importantly, These negative impacts have been felt most acutely by ethnic minorities who have weaker legal protections and less political power to resist or negotiate. 

Human Rights Violations 

Enforced disappearances 

The Commission of Inquiry on Enforced Disappearances established by the Pakistani government has acknowledged over 5,000 cases of enforced disappearances in the country since 2014. Unfortunately, the majority of these cases remain unresolved. However, this number could be just the tip of the iceberg, as local and international human rights organizations believe that the actual figure is much higher with organisations indicating that the figures might reach more than 20,000 individuals. According to Voice of Baloch Mission 

Persons , over 2,500 of these victims have been found dead, bearing signs of brutal torture. List of known allegedly missing persons compiled by Baloch activist can be found here: https://bygwaah.com/current_status/missing/ 

Extrajudicial killings 

Human rights organizations have raised serious concerns about the tactics employed by the Pakistani authorities to silence dissent and opposition to the CPEC project, including allegations of extrajudicial killings. In its 2018 report, Amnesty International documented numerous cases of enforced disappearances and extrajudicial killings in the province of Baluchistan, where the CPEC project is primarily being implemented. The report highlighted that many of the victims were individuals who had spoken out against the government's policies towards the project, including political activists, journalists, and students. 

List of known allegedly arbitrarily executed people compiled by Baloch activist can be found here: https://bygwaah.com/current_status/extra-judicially-killed/ , https://bygwaah.com/current_status/target-killed/ , https://bygwaah.com/current_status/hanged/ 

Restriction of freedom of assembly and movement 

The development of Gwadar port has been met with significant opposition from the Balochi population, leading to numerous protests and demonstrations. However, the Pakistani authorities have responded with a harsh crackdown, using brutal force to quell dissent. As a result, the situation in Gwadar has become increasingly tense, with a de facto curfew imposed in the area. The heavy-handed response of the authorities has drawn criticism from human rights organizations and activists, who claim that the government is disregarding the fundamental rights of the local population and using excessive force to silence any opposition to the development of the port. 

These allegations have further fuelled concerns about the human rights implications of the CPEC project, and the need for the Pakistani government to ensure that the rights of all citizens are protected, including their right to freedom of expression and peaceful assembly. 

Importantly, as of May 2023, Baluchistan has witnessed the deployment of army forces by the federal government, with approval from the Federal cabinet. This deployment is expected to assist the civil administration in conducting targeted operations against dissenting voices in the Baloch community. However, there are concerns that this military presence may indicate the initiation of a large-scale operation in cooperation with China for the advancement of the controversial CPEC project. 


In light of the submission provided herein, the UNPO has requested the Special Rapporteurs to consider : 

  • Addressing a Joint Allegation Letter directed towards the governments of the People's Republic of China and the Islamic Republic of Pakistan concerning the adverse effects of CPEC. 
  • Request for a visit to the affected regions and for UN monitoring of the project, with special attention given to the Gwadar Port, which has been inaccessible to local activists for observation. 

We hope such an action will serve to bring attention to the issues at hand, encourage the governments to take measures to alleviate the negative impacts, and stress the importance of upholding the rights of indigenous peoples and ethnic minorities, including their right to participate, be consulted, and provide free, prior, and informed consent.