If your country is a signatory of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), article 4 of this treaty elaborates that certain Human Rights (such as right to life and freedom from torture) are non-derogable, which means that the state cannot limit these rights in any circumstance (even in a situation of grave emergency). Yet Abdul Wahid Baloch, a poet and Baloch social worker, was picked up by the enforcement agencies of Pakistan, according to his daughter Hani and was only allowed to return home three months later. As an alleged member of a Balochistan separatist movement Abdul Wahid Baloch poses a threat to a unified Pakistan, which is why the state chose to take this action against him, showing complete disregard for international law and the rights of it’s citizens. This is not an isolated instance as several others have been similarly been picked up by enforcement agencies, after which many have reported that they were subjected to torture by state officials. If the Pakistani State has obligations under the ICCPR and various other treaties, how can it continue to commit grave human rights violations? This is due to the lack of a central governing body with authority over states in international law; as such a body would be in direct contradiction with the concept of sovereignty, which is vital to how a state functions. I do not advocate for such a body to be made. Instead I would like for Pakistan to sign and ratify the First Optional Protocol, which would allow the individuals of its country to take up violations to the Human Rights Committee (HRC). Even though treaty bodies (such as the HRC) will not have direct authority over the state and cannot force it into taking any sort of action, they are one of the few international forums that allow for claims to be made by citizens directly instead of the state ‘on behalf of its citizens’. Kerstin Mechlem writes in the Vanderbilt Journal of Transnational Law, “The HRC has developed an important body of jurisprudence on civil and political rights that has helped to clarify state obligations, led to remedies at the domestic level and regularly inspired the regional human rights bodies and national courts.” As the HRC has no authority over states, any decision will not be binding on the state of Pakistan, however, it is recognition by the international community that a Human Rights violation indeed took place. If several claims of Pakistani citizens are recognized by the HRC, the state could face problems in the sense that it’s diplomatic relations with some other states could become very strained. It was a similar sort of pressure which forced Pakistan into removing it’s reservations against several articles of the ICCPR. Similarly no government would want it’s Human Rights violations legitimized and given publicity even in the domestic sphere. A paradox exists in International Law and we must always remember this, States are the ones who violate our rights and they are the ones we always look to in order to enforce our rights. When a state shows disregard for those rights which all of us consider sacred, it is our responsibility to ensure that the state allows us to have some platform where our voices are heard in a just and fair manner; treaty bodies are exactly that. Several states are a signatory to the First Optional Protocol of the ICCPR, including Serbia and Ukraine. The acceptance of the HRC in the international community allows it to be a platform through which those voices that have been silenced by the state can be heard far and wide.