Back to top

Hooran Baloch

WHRD, Research Coordinator
Voice for Baloch Missing Persons

Hooran Baloch is a woman human rights defender and the Research Coordinator of the Voice for Baloch Missing Persons (VBMP) based in Balochistan. VBMP, which was established in 2009, is a key organisation that supports victims and relatives of enforced disappearances in Balochistan. It documents violations and is a strong advocate for release, redress and accountability. VBMP staff, including Hooran Baloch, have faced reprisals for their work, and are themselves at serious risk of legal and extra-legal violence.

Human rights defenders in Pakistan are subjected to a range of attacks and abuses, including extra-judicial killings and violence, arbitrary arrest and detention, brutal sectarian violence, abduction and enforced disappearance, surveillance, threats and judicial harassment. Many HRDs have even had their offices attacked or burnt down and their colleagues killed. There exists a culture of impunity for killings of HRDs and this has emboldened perpetrators and fuelled further violence against them. Behind the veil of national security, the government continues to muzzle those critical of it’s policies and of Islam. In addition to this, HRDs are further threatened and intimidated by various non-state actors such as militants and interest groups.

Defenders investigating human rights violations in Balochistan, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP), and the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) face a particularly hostile climate, as they are targeted by security agencies, religious groups, militants, and armed gangs. Women HRDs face particular risks due to their gender. Besides threats by security agencies and armed groups, WHRDs can receive threats from their own family members, who exert pressure on them to quit their human rights work, or be threatened with the safety of their children. While the transgender community in Pakistan has made some strides in recent years, attacks on transgender HRDs remain widespread and the violence has been increasing. HRDs working on religious freedom and minority rights are also targeted.