Canadian government must fully investigate the death of Karima Baloch. HRCB

Canadian government must fully investigate the death of Karima Baloch. HRCB

We are devastated by the news of Karima Baloch’s death in Toronto, Canada. She went missing on December 20 and was found dead the next day. We offer our condolences to Karima Baloch’s family and friends. May they find ease and peace in these difficult times.

Karima Baloch, 37, was a dedicated human rights activist. She was the first chairperson of Baloch Student Organization-Azad (BSO-Azad). She fled Balochistan in November 2015 and sought asylum in Canada, where she continued her political activism by highlighting human rights violations in Balochistan.  In 2016 she was listed among the BBC’s prestigious annual 100 Most Inspirational and Influential Women. Karima Baloch stands as an icon of courage, reason and conscience in face of harsh oppressions.

She was an eyewitness to several crimes committed by the Pakistan army. In January 2014, when a mass grave was discovered in Tootak area of district Khuzdar in which more than 170 bodies were found, she was the first to reach the site.  Karima was also an eyewitness to the enforced disappearance of Zahid Baloch, a former chairman of BSO-Azad. He was abducted by secret service agents on March 18, 2014 and remains missing to date.

Karima also offered to record her testimony for the upcoming Universal Periodic Review of Pakistan in the United Nations Human Rights Council due in September 2022.

The Human Rights Council of Balochistan is not convinced by the statement of the Toronto Police which states “The circumstances have been investigated and officers have determined this to be a non-criminal death and no foul play is suspected”. Given the threat she had been facing for the last 15 years, concluding the case in a preliminary stage is irresponsible and an immature approach. We call upon the government of Canada to investigate the death of Karima Baloch effectively and efficiently and bring forward the evidence and findings of the investigations on her disappearance and death.